LOVINGTON —Lovington will soon have another grocery store.
According to an announcement made by Lovington Economic Development Corporation Director Evelyn Holguin during Monday’s city commission meeting, United Supermarket is coming to Lovington.
Holguin said the 50,000 square-foot grocery store and accompanying fuel station will be about an $18 million dollar project.
A shopping center and fast-food restaurant, which Holguin said she could not yet name, will also be built on the site surrounding the grocery store.
The new shopping plaza will be a part of the Blackwood Addition on the north side of Lovington. The property is located between the Family Dollar on Main Street and the Lovington Trails Apartments, per a map displayed during the commission meeting.
Holguin said the build would take 12 to 16 months to complete once construction starts.
A traffic study was completed in the area and the speed limit near the hospital on north Main Street will be reduced to 35 miles per hour, said EDC Board Director Junior Hernandez.
The city commission previously voted to take out the dedicated right turn coming from the Lovington Trails Apartments and Nor-Lea Clinic, which boarders the property of the Blackwood Addition.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation assigned a few tasks to EDC that needed to be complete before permitting could be received, but Holguin said those tasks have been completed.
Lovington Commissioner David Trujillo said he was excited about the news, and would be happier when it is complete and gross receipts taxes stopped flowing south to Hobbs for groceries.
United Supermarkets is the parent company of Albertsons Market in Hobbs and Carlsbad.
Holguin said she spoke to United executives and found out 36 percent of the grocery business at the Hobbs Albertson’s Market comes from Lovington customers. That could also be good news for customers in Hobbs who sometimes say finding a parking spot can be difficult, and checkout lines can be long.
“I want to bring that 36 percent back to Lovington,” said Holguin.
Holguin said she and the EDC has been working toward this project for a year and a half.
“It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears — mostly tears,” Holguin said laughing. “But contracts have been signed and earnest money has been deposited. We asked (United) earlier today if we could announce it and they said we could.”
Holguin thanked Hernandez for all the work he put in on the project.
“He (Hernandez) works 18 to 20 hours a week for free, helping the EDC,” Holguin said.