Lowes Foods to open in Hampstead

Hampstead residents should have a new place to buy groceries by next May, with the arrival of a Lowes Foods grocery store.

Developers of the Hampstead Town Center shopping center, Wakefield Associates in Raleigh, last week received the final permit authorization to close the deal on purchasing land for the center on U.S. 17 near Olde Point. Its construction contractors got to work right away at the site.

Rick Rowe, of Wakefield, said the $14 million dollar project will be about 82,000 square feet, with a 44,000-square-foot Lowes Foods store as the anchor tenant and several other shops making up the remaining space.

“In the first phase we will build the Lowes Foods and 20,000 square feet initially,” Rowe said The development has been “well received,” he said, and finding businesses wanting to set up shop at the center hasn’t been a tough task, though information about other tenants hasn’t been released. “Pre-leasing has gone pretty well so far, and if it continues, then we will immediately go into the second phase….”

The site will also have three out-parcels, one of which will be a Lowes fuel center.

Initial plans to build the shopping center were halted in August 2010 when the previous developers failed to meet the deadline to start construction of the Lowes store.

“We have long thought the market and location was a good place for the store to be, but previously, timing hadn’t worked in our favor.” said Roger Henderson, vice president-real estate for Lowes Food Stores Inc. “The previous development group ran into some internal difficulties, and at the same time the general economy ran into problems. But now, with some recovery and more growth in the town, for another developer to be able to get this project going is great.”

According to Henderson, the Lowes Foods store could bring at least 80 jobs to the area.

Officials expect the store to be open by Memorial Day 2013.

Lowe’s Food Stores Inc., a family-owned company based in Winston-Salem, employs more than 8,500 people and operates 86 Lowes Foods stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

By Stephanie Bowens