Lidl store entrance

The entrance to an American Lidl store is shown.

MARIETTA — Amid reports that it is scaling back its plans to expand its footprint in Georgia, European grocery chain Lidl is remaining tight-lipped on whether two Cobb County locations will move forward.

Operating more than 10,000 stores in 27 countries, the chain’s plans to build in Cobb came to light in September 2016 as it filed a rezoning application for 7.8 acres of residentially zoned property at 4730 Floyd Road — near the northwest corner of Floyd Road and White Boulevard in the Mableton area — to allow for a 36,000-square-foot grocery store. County commissioners gave the store a green light that month, with attorney Parks Huff, who represented Lidl in the zoning case, estimating that construction would start in 12 to 18 months.

But more than a year after its zoning was approved, the site of the planned Floyd Road store appears to remain untouched. Numerous trees remained standing on the site Thursday with no appearance that the property had been cleared to make way for a store, even though other filings with the county indicate a potential opening date.

Lidl has 2018 occupation tax certificates/business licenses for the Floyd Road site and a location with the address of 2651 Powder Springs Road, Marietta, which lies at one corner of Powder Springs Road where it crosses Barrett Parkway and the East-West Connector. The address formerly belonged to a Texaco store at that intersection; on Thursday, a backhoe crew was on the property digging up dirt and asphalt, though a sign on the property listed it for sale or lease.

Casey Sanders of Paradise Ventures, whose name and company were listed on the sign, said the property remained on the market Thursday, but was only 0.6 acres.

“We’re not sure what we’re going to do with it yet,” Sanders said, but said he could not divulge additional information on the property.

“In Cobb County, I know there was plans for a grocery surrounding our property, but we’re not involved in that,” he added.

The county had received Lidl’s applications for the licenses on March 21, with licenses for both issued by the county on June 30, according to Sandra Richardson, who serves as business license division manager for the county’s community development department.

The anticipated date for both stores as provided to her office, Richardson said, was March 1, 2018.

“Businesses sometimes make application for the business license, which includes occupation tax and alcohol fees, in advance to have the alcohol license in place once the store is built and ready to open,” Richardson said.

County commissioners voted in mid-June to affirm the county’s License Review Board’s decision to approve Lidl’s applications for beer, wine and Sunday sales package licenses at the two locations.

Lidl spokesman Will Harwood would not confirm Thursday if either of the two stores would be open by that date, nor would he address whether the company was moving forward on the two stores.

“We have not announced opening dates beyond what we have shared on our website,” Harwood said, adding that while the company is preparing a number of locations across the state, it was not addressing each individual site “at this time” — though it was making store announcements regularly.

THIRD COBB SITE SOUGHT BUT DENIED

A potential third store in the county had been eyed to replace the Park 12 Cobb movie theater — operated by Georgia Theatre Company — at 2925 Gordy Parkway near Shallowford Road in northeast Cobb. It had proposed a 36,000-square-foot store on the theater’s 5.8-acre site.

The grocer’s application for the site came to light this spring but a county commissioners’ vote on it was delayed for months for several reasons. It was ultimately denied by the commission following a strong wave of neighbor opposition to the store and the traffic they said would be created by such a business, among other reasons.

A lawsuit by Lidl against Cobb commissioners and the county filed Oct. 18 in Cobb County Superior Court alleges that commissioners’ decision against the company’s site plan had been unconstitutional, as the proposed grocery store on the theater site would have been a permitted use on the commercial property and met all zoning criteria. It also alleges that the plaintiffs requested that commissioners either approve the site plan or state what was wrong with the plan so it could be corrected and ultimately approved.

It also contends that denial of the site plan constitutes damages of $1,000 per day, and seeks for Lidl a reversal of the commission’s decision on the site plans, attorney’s fees and any other monetary relief deemed appropriate. The filing was submitted by Huff, who had represented Lidl in the zoning filing for the property.

Harwood would not reveal if the company was eyeing any other sites in the northeast portion of the county.

“We are looking at sites all across the state, and we actively welcome site submission on our real estate webpage, if people know of good locations,” he said.

Lidl’s website on Thursday listed five scheduled grand openings for November in four states — two in North Carolina and one each in New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina. One of the five was a store in Greenville, South Carolina, which was listed as opening yesterday.

The company opened its first store in the state in Augusta in September, earning, according to Harwood, a “very positive” response.

A report late last month by the Atlanta Business Chronicle said Lidl was “dramatically scaling back” plans for dozens of Georgia stores, citing discussions from multiple sources at last month’s International Council of Shopping Centers’ Southeast conference in Atlanta who said it was pulling out of several deals.

Harwood said Thursday that reports of a “scale back” in Georgia were “simply false.”

“Georgia is a focus for Lidl. We are actively pursuing sites in the state, and look forward to opening more stores in Georgia, along with our regional headquarters and distribution center in Cartersville,” he said.

Huff did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday on the Floyd Road property or any other potential properties for Lidl.

Follow Jon Gargis on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JonGargis

1
1
0
0
1

Recommended for you

(2) comments

BubbaBrian

The former Texaco location in Marietta at the corner of powdersprings and the East West connector is DEFINATELY being built as a LIDL The distinctive shape and coloration of the building is a dead giveaway. It's position right across the street from a small Wal-Mart store is also STRONG clue....

Tony Whaley

"coming soon" signs are up on the fences surrounding the construction sites of both the Marietta and Mableton Lidl locations.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.