Aldi plans store in Upper Arlington's Kingsdale Shopping Center
Upper Arlington officials are receptive to early plans that would bring a discount-grocery store to the Kingsdale Shopping Center.
The Upper Arlington Board of Zoning and Planning is scheduled to review plans at a work session Monday, Nov. 2, as well as at a regular meeting Nov. 16 for a proposed 18,726-square-foot Aldi store at 3280 Tremont Road.
Justin Milam, a senior planner for the city, said the Community Development Department staff was working to determine if they would recommend the project’s approval to BZAP, but he added it represents progress for the property that was left vacant when Barnes & Noble closed in the summer.
“Absent a complete redevelopment of the site, the city is pleased to see the former Barnes & Noble bookstore space being filled in a timely manner,” Milam said. “The proposed design of the building adds a new and fresh look for the shopping center with quality, long-lasting materials that are a hallmark of the community.”
Aldi Inc. is a discount-grocery chain based in Bativia, Illinois. According to the company’s website, it has more than 2,000 stores across 36 states, has more than 25,000 employees and has been growing since opening its first US store in Iowa in 1976.
Plans for a store at Kingsdale call for a 1-story building with 145 parking spaces.
According to a letter to the city’s Community Development Department from Ken White, an engineer involved in the project, the store would have 15-20 employees, depending on sales volume.
“Employee shift sizes at the store will be approximately 10 per shift,” White stated in the letter. “Aldi’s hours of operation are typically 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and weekends.
“The existing shopping center includes 150 total parking spaces. Proposed improvements will reduce parking to 145 total spaces. Typical Aldi stores utilize approximately 80 parking spaces leaving a remainder of 65 spaces for use by CVS and Panera Bread.”
Aldi officials declined to answer questions regarding the project, including when construction could start or the store might open if the proposal is approved.
“At this time, we do not have any information to share about a potential ALDI store opening in Upper Arlington,” said Sarah Brown, Aldi division vice president. “As soon as there are any updates regarding ALDI stores in that area, we will reach out.”
In his Oct. 19 application letter to the city, White said the proposal meets zoning code requirements for building setbacks, parking spaces provided, trash enclosure screening and front façade improvements.
“Aldi will provide a quality commercial establishment meeting the community's grocery needs,” the letter said. “Aldi plans to construct an attractive store meeting the expectations of the surrounding community. The primary goal is to fill a vacant space in the shopping center with a grocery store use to service the surrounding community.”
If approved, Aldi would be the second grocery at Kingsdale, following Giant Eagle.
In January 2015, Kroger Co. purchased the 105,422-square-foot Macy’s building and affiliated property at Kingsdale and announced informal plans to construct a grocery as part of a mixed-use development.
However, Kroger never brought forward development plans for the site and the city announced in September Continental Real Estate Cos.’ intent to purchase the site.
Since then, Continental has submitted plans to build apartments, senior living, offices, restaurants and structured parking at the site, while leaving a placeholder for the possible construction of a community center.
Milam said a staff report will be issued with a recommendation to BZAP in advance of the Nov. 16 hearing, when the board is expected to vote on the project.
“The addition of another grocery store to the area provides another option for our residents and visitors to consider,” he said. “Evaluation of the submitted amended final development plan application is ongoing and the city will provide its position in the staff report.”
Both BZAP meetings are slated for 6 p.m. City officials plan to hold those meetings in-person at the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.