Publix has confirmed a lease was signed for the Arboretum at Surf City development.

SURF CITY -- Publix has confirmed a lease was signed for the Arboretum at Surf City development.

The development will be located across from Wal-Mart near the corner of N.C. 210 and N.C. 50. The Surf City Publix within the development is expected to open in 2018 and employ 140 associates, said spokeswoman Kim Reynolds.

Along with a grocery store, site plans also call for surrounding commercial space and two outer parcels. Surf City officials previously confirmed Publix was talking to the town about locating there. Tuesday town officials approved the site plans.

Reynolds said the brand is looking to grow aggressively across North Carolina. The company is watching the growth in Southeastern North Carolina and hopes to make more announcements about locations in the area in the future.

One Publix location opened off South College Road this summer in Wilmington and a second location is under construction in Ogden. The Florida-based grocery chain is rumored to be looking at several sites in Brunswick County including Oak Island and Ocean Isle Beach.

After establishing stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, Publix announced in 2011 it would move into North Carolina, first establishing sites in Charlotte and Asheville. The biggest employee-owned supermarket in the world, Publix now has more than 1,100 locations across the southeast.

Reporter Ashley Morris can be reached at 910-343-2096 or Ashley.Morris@starnewsonline.com