UPDATE: After our report on Wednesday, DHEC reached out to News 2 letting us know they have approved the water permit, so the store can begin the process of opening. DETAILS HERE.

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – People living in Moncks Corner have been long awaiting the opening of a new Publix shopping center. While the grocery store appears to be ready to open, many are now wondering “what is the holdup?”

“If you live in the area, you are excited about the store coming in. What we’re not excited about is how long it’s taking for it to open,” said Robert Esclavon, who stops by the center occasionally to see its progress.

The 75,000 square-foot Publix at the new Moncks Corner Marketplace was announced about two years ago. Today, things basically look finished – there are grocery carts inside, fixtures in place, and shelves waiting to be stocked. But still, the store sits unopened.

Based on a January 2021 press release, the shopping center was slated for completion in June 2022, with Publix expected to open in fall 2022.

“The few people I run into say it looks like it could be mid-September before it opens. I don’t know if they know what they’re talking about, but for a store that’s complete – except for product on the shelves – it makes you wonder what’s holding it up,” said Esclavon.

Esclavon reached out to News 2 to find out what is going on. Leaders with the Town of Moncks Corner said they are waiting on final approval from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“Right now, we are just waiting on DHEC to approve the water supply system over there. All the engineering has been done- the water is clear, it’s just a matter of getting everything signed off on the state DHEC office and they’ll be able to start moving in people and supplies,” explained Douglas Polen, Moncks Corner Community Development Director.

One person, who was familiar with the construction project, said they had to wait a few weeks for Berkeley Water and Sanitation to get their water meters installed. That process is now complete, and they have been waiting on DHEC for the past week and a half.

Officials with DHEC tell News 2 they are going to see what they can do to expedite the rest of the approval process so the store can finally open for business.

Esclavon said that is why he called us for help.

“Just having you guys, like you guys research it a little bit and maybe you push them along to have this project move up … they’re ready to go, I think,” he said.

Moncks Corner officials said once DHEC gives its final approval, Publix could open in as little as three to four weeks.