A large European supermarket chain is eyeing a location in Pooler for part of the first wave of its expansion into the U.S.
Site and landscape plans for a proposed 36,170-square-foot Lidl (pronounced lee-duhl) grocery store at the intersection of Park Avenue and Canal Street got a recommendation for approval Monday from the Pooler Planning & Zoning Commission. The vote comes less than a month after the planning commission signed off on a request to subdivide the proposed supermarket site between Pooler Parkway and Tanger Outlets. A subsequent recombination is required for the property as part of the planning commission’s recommendation.
Representing the grocery chain Monday, Andrew Moriarty with North Carolina-based Bohler Engineering, said the company’s offerings will be similar to those at a Trader Joe’s — fewer varieties of pre-packaged products and some fresh produce.
According to website for Lidl’s U.S. division, the Germany-based discount supermarket chain currently operates 10,000 grocery stores across Europe. Lidl is now in the midst of an expansion to the U.S., beginning with the eastern states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“(We) look forward to bringing a different kind of shopping experience to American consumers and communities,” reads the company’s website. “One that provides substantial value through our convenient locations, customer-minded layout, and world-class architectural design.”
A spokesman for Lidl U.S., Will Harwood, said Monday that the company is in the early stages of its U.S. expansion and has not yet made individual store announcements or opened any stores.
Since the company chose Arlington, Va., as the site of its U.S. headquarters in June 2015, however, plans for new supermarket locations have cropped up in areas of Philadelphia, Charlotte, N.C., Aberdeen, Md., and Florence, S.C. — to name a few.
“We are actively pursuing sites in Georgia, and along the East Coast of the U.S. as we prepare to launch,” Harwood said in an email. “We plan to have stores open in the U.S. no later than 2018.”
In other business Monday, the Pooler Planning & Zoning Commission:
• Voted to recommend approval of a minor subdivision and of site and landscape plans for a proposed CVS pharmacy at Godley Station and Grand Central boulevards.
• Held a public hearing and voted to recommend denial of rezoning about 12.6 acres at the end of Towne Center Drive from a commercial to a multifamily residential zoning. The intent of the rezone, according to city agenda documents, is to construct a maximum of 253 housing units between the Surf Lagoon water park and existing hotels and outparcels on Towne Center Boulevard.