For years there have been whispers and rumors that Publix would be building a new store in or very close to the Gateway area.

We can now confirm that it’s finally happening.

And there’s more than just a supermarket coming. In fact, a brand new plaza will be built on the airport property just south of the Gateway Boulevard and Daniels Parkway intersection, with Publix as the anchor tenant.

Publix spokesman Brian West told us that he had not yet been advised of a location near Gateway. He gets a list of new Publix locations every Tuesday and he said there was no mention of this one.

However, West also said that we should contact him again next Tuesday.

Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, on the other hand, did confirm the news to the Gateway Sun.

Pendergrass is the elected official who represents both Gateway and the Southwest Florida International Airport in matters involving Lee County.

“As your District 2 County Commissioner I am excited to announce the future plans for a commercial plaza at the Southeast corner of Gateway Boulevard and Daniels Parkway. Publix Supermarket will be the key anchor along with other vendors and a free standing restaurant. The plan is currently in the permitting stage and is scheduled to break ground in mid 2016. I enjoy working with the private investors and the Lee County Port Authority in bringing this project to fruition. As a 22-year resident of Gateway, I know this project will further improve and accommodate our community,” said Pendergrass.

Just as Pendergrass noted, the project is currently in the permitting stages. But given how important this project is to the Gateway area as well as to airport officials … and adding the fact that Pendergrass is the County Commissioner, it’s probably safe to say the permit applications will receive prompt attention at the county’s permitting offices.

Congratulations to Publix, to the property developers, to RSW, to Pendergrass, and to everyone else involved in making this happen.

At long last, we’re getting a Publix!

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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