Is the grocery chain Lidl coming to Sandy Springs? At a March 21 community meeting, developers who recently bought two Sandy Springs shopping centers would not confirm or deny a report that they plan to anchor both locations with the German discount grocer.
However, Stream Realty Partners’ definitely plans a new grocery store in the North River Shopping Center at 8877 Roswell Road, and its proposed design is very similar to Lidl’s ideal model posted on its website.
“Our agreement prevents us from disclosing who it is,” said Jack Arnold, Stream’s managing director for retail, at the meeting held at the Stars and Strikes bowling facility within the shopping center.
Will Harwood, a spokesperson for Lidl’s U.S. branch, declined to comment on future store locations, but he did provide a brief sales pitch about the chain’s low prices and photos of a Lidl store in Italy.
“We are in the early stages of our U.S. expansion and have not yet made individual store announcements at this point,” Harwood said in an email. “What I can tell you now is that we are actively pursuing sites in the region, throughout Georgia, as we prepare to launch.”
Arnold repeatedly acknowledged, but declined to comment on, an Atlanta Business Chronicle story that reports Lidl will be the tenant there and at the former Marshall’s Plaza at 6337 Roswell Road, now best known for a Hudson Grille restaurant. The Marshall’s Plaza location is directly across the street from an Aldi, another German discount grocer that one of Lidl’s top competitors. Aldi and Lidl (pronounced “lee-dil”) are both in an expansion push internationally, according to media reports, and Lidl is in the midst of a large-scale entry into the U.S. market.
The North River plan is in the pre-filing, community notification stage. It would require rezoning for the grocery use and possible concurrent variances for parking and setback. According to a preliminary site plan, the 36,000-square-foot grocery store would replace part of the parking lot, a stand-alone building—a vacant former bank—and part of the main shopping center.
Arnold and Stream vice president William Stark said that the rest of the shopping center will be remodeled and that existing tenants—including, among others, Stars and Strikes and a Family Dollar—will stay. However, Arnold could not say exactly how of the center would be demolished for the grocery store. That end has several tenants, including a tire garage and a restaurant. The “aesthetic piece” of remodeling the shopping center is already underway, Arnold said. He added that Stream is lobbying the city and state for a new traffic light to be installed at the complex’s entrance.
Only a handful of community members attended the meeting. Among them was Robert Ullian, owner of the nearby North River Tavern, who voiced general support of upgraded development in comments to Arnold and Stark.
Arnold declined to comment on Stream’s plans for Marshall’s Plaza.
Dallas-based Stream has several local redevelopments of shopping centers or industrial complexes, either complete or underway, in the area. Among them, Arnold said, are a strip of offices and shops near the Topgolf entertainment facility in Atlanta’s Midtown, and a similar redevelopment about to start on Apple Valley Road in Brookhaven.