The Auburn City Council approved a conditional use request for a grocery store on South Gay Street at its meeting on Tuesday, paving the way for the return of a grocer downtown.
The grocery store is shown as a roughly 29,000 square-foot Publix, which will face north on the properties, with 5,500 square-feet of additional retail fronting South Gay Street.
The project will include 141 parking spaces despite parking not being required for non-residential uses in the Urban Core.
The applicant, Multi Aubal GS LLC, purchased the three parcels along South Gay Street in 2019 for a combined $10.75 million.
The addition of a grocery store in downtown Auburn checks off a major item on the city's wish list and one of the key recommendations listed in the Downtown Master Plan.
Auburn traditionally had grocery stores downtown in the past, including one across the street from the proposed project.
"It's very interesting as somebody who's lived here all my life to think how many grocery stores have been in that area," said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders.
The Council also approved a conditional use for Donahue Crossing Axe Throwing on Shug Jordan Parkway. Councilwoman Connie Fitch Taylor inquired about the nature of the business.
"It's throwing an axe at the target," said City Manager Jim Buston, which drew laughs from council members.