Leland’s Aldi grocery store faces setback as other chains plan to move to Cape Fear

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ALDI, which plans to open a store in Leland, must work out a discrepancy regarding its planned entrance via a state road before moving forward with building permits. Courtesy photo.
ALDI, which plans to open a store in Leland, must work out a discrepancy regarding its planned entrance via a state road before moving forward with building permits. Courtesy photo.

Plans to build the area’s first ALDI grocery store have hit a slight bump in the road.

The company was set to hand over proposals earlier this week for the approximately 19,000-square-foot store planned in Leland to the town’s technical review committee, which scrutinizes the impact construction has on transportation and utilities.

But Leland planning director Robert Waring said a review of the plans was delayed because ALDI first has a discrepancy it must first resolve with the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

“We felt they needed to straighten out some issues with their access onto Ploof Road, which is a state road, and they agreed,” Waring noted.

The grocery store wants to set up shop on Ploof Road’s intersection with U.S. 17, an area that has seen an upsurge in apartments and homes within the last several years. A sprawling shopping center, anchored by a Harris Teeter and adjacent to the Waterford subdivision, is located across the highway from the ALDI site.

The company’s original submission to the town includes a driveway access different from that in a traffic impact analysis report from NCDOT.

Waring said ALDI will likely need to seek a driveway permit from the state, and then will submit a revised set of plans to Leland’s technical review committee.

While he could not give a timeline, Waring said ALDI is anxious to proceed with the process, the next step in which is building permits.

“I know they’re ready to move forward,” he said.

ALDI, which focuses on affordable healthy foods in a “no-frills” environment, is rapidly expanding across the country, according to its website, with a goal of adding 650 locations to its existing 1,400 by 2018.

It’s one of several stores preparing to pop up in the Cape Fear region in the coming years. Fast-growing, employee-owned supermarket chain Publix is set to build two locations in Wilmington: one in midtown near Pine Valley and another in the Ogden area. The former of those two is scheduled to open at the end of the year.

Publix is also apparently eyeing sprawling Brunswick County. Oak Island town clerk Lisa Stites said while the company has not applied for building permits, it did make a presentation to council last month, which prompted council members to amend the allowed uses of the potential site – a former campground – to include grocery stores. During that presentation, Stites added, Publix officials said they were planning to build three other stores in the county.

And amid the buzz about Publix was an announcement late last year that German-based discount food chain Lidl has plans to build a new store off Eastwood Road near Mayfaire Town Center.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.