Lidl, a German discount grocery chain, will be the anchor tenant at a new 5-acre retail center slated for Shorter Avenue next to the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation headquarters.
The Rome City Commission approved a property swap Monday that clears the way for Athens-based Butler Properties to assemble the tract with buys from Shanklin Attaway American Legion Post 5 and Shorter University.
In exchange for a .97-acre piece of the Parks and Rec parking lot, the city will get a total of 2.44 acres that Shorter and the American Legion own on the other side — pieces of the levee and the road leading from Heritage Park to Shorter Avenue.
“For some reason, years ago, we deeded that property to them,” City Manager Sammy Rich said. “This lets us regain control.”
The deal includes a promise from Butler to install a stoplight for the development and Parks and Rec property, at an estimated cost of $300,000, City Attorney Andy Davis said. The light at North Second Avenue is slated for removal when the intersection is realigned to flow into Martha Berry Boulevard.
Butler is advertising the availability of outparcel space in the development, which will have a total of 233 parking spaces. Lidl, which has close to 10,000 stores in 27 countries, announced plans to open 100 stores this year in U.S. markets along the Eastern Seaboard from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The chain “is often compared to its domestic rival Aldi for efficient operations, limited assortment and service, and heavy emphasis on private label goods,” according to the trade journal Supermarket News. At 36,000 square feet, Lidl stores are roughly twice the size of Aldis.
City Commissioners voted 7-1 on the property swap, with Commissioner Craig McDaniel abstaining. Commissioner Wendy Davis said she cast her “no” vote because there were no appraisals done to determine the value of the parcels.