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Big box stores coming to Pooler

Everything may be cooler in Pooler, but most West Chatham residents still venture into Savannah to shop for clothing and other specialty goods.

A new retail complex could soon alter that pattern.

A developer will break ground on a 100,000-plus square foot shopping center anchored by T.J. Maxx and Ross Dress for Less later this spring. The center, to be known as The Village on Pooler Parkway, will be located on the northwest corner of the Pooler Parkway-Benton Boulevard intersection behind the existing Logan’s Roadhouse.

The developer, Nashville-based GBT Realty, is still finalizing the plans and anchor leases for the project, according to a representative of GBT’s public relations firm, Gray Public Relations. More details, including a projected opening date, will be announced later this month, the spokeswoman wrote in an email.

GBT Realty is one of the largest retail center developers in the Southeast.

The Village of Pooler will bring variety to a corridor dominated by Walmart and home improvement warehouses. Other major tenants listed on the documents submitted for planning review include Michaels craft store, Petsmart and Pier 1 Imports. The center will include several small retail spaces as well and will feature outparcels for restaurants or additional phases.

“We know at some point, we will become the shopping area on the westside,” Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb said. “We are already the restaurant area and the entertainment area and increasingly the medical area. But there is tremendous potential for shopping that would benefit not only our citizens but residents in surrounding counties.”

The Village of Pooler will be the latest retail development for the corridor, which abuts the Godley Station residential subdivisions. The Pooler Marketplace, anchored by a Publix supermarket, opened in 2010. An entertainment complex, which includes a multi-screen cinema, bowling alley and roller rink, sits just north of The Village of Pooler site, as does a small retail center currently under construction.

An upscale outlet mall measuring more than a half-million square feet is planned along Benton Boulevard south of the intersection with Pooler Parkway. It is scheduled to open in summer 2014.

Demographics and traffic count have made the corridor popular with retailers. Nearly 28,000 people live within five miles and more than 70,000 cars pass daily along I-95. The Village of Pooler could be one of the last major retail developments in the Godley Station corridor.

“It’s getting pretty competitive for big sites out there,” said Ashley Smith, a commercial real estate agent with Colliers International’s Savannah office. “That corridor will continue to tighten up.”

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