EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The site of the first Aldi grocery store in the township is starting to take shape, with trees being cleared and other site work started.
The grocery store will sit next to La-Z-Boy on the Black Horse Pike in the English Creek area. The developer, Doug Scarborough, owner of Tower Avenue LLC of Cherry Hill, said the goal is to have the store open by the end of this year.
“They want to open in 2018, so we’re really pushing for that and hopefully we’ll get it done,” Scarborough said.
However, back-to-back winter storms have made an impact on the site work’s schedule.
“The weather kind of slowed us down a little bit,” he said. “We’re moving forward in the next couple days.”
“We’re going to start moving dirt around hopefully next week, breaking ground on the site a few weeks after that,” he added.
The application for the 17,825 square foot grocery store with 121 parking spaces was approved by the township Planning Board on Aug. 15, 2016.
They were granted three variances. First, that the front yard setback to Highgate Avenue is 23.75 feet instead of the 50 feet required by ordinance. Second, that two mounted signs on the south and west side of the building, where one is permitted by ordinance. Third, that those signs be 9.5 feet high instead of 5 feet.
An access road will be constructed connecting the neighboring La-Z-Boy furniture store to the site, as well as sidewalks along the Black Horse Pike.
It will be the only Aldi store in this part of the county, Township Administrator Peter Miller said.
“As far as I know, there is none in this part of Atlantic County,” Miller said, adding there used to be one in Pleasantville that has since closed.
In addition to the grocery store, the second phase of the project includes a pad site for a 6,220-square-foot retail building, which was given preliminary approval by the board. The developer must return to the board for approval before the pad site is built out.
So far, there is no tenant for the second building, Scarborough said.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get it done soon. We’re moving forward on everything.”
“Hopefully it’s something good for us and something good for the town,” Scarborough said.