Lidl, a discount supermarket chain based in Germany, is going to be setting up shop in Fayetteville. At Thursday night’s City Council meeting, unanimous votes cleared the way for Lidl to build their store where J&R Clothing currently sits.
First broached nearly a year ago with a number of needed variance requests, Lidl, considered the chief competition for fellow German discount chain Aldi, returned with a revised approach that will require no variances.
Comprising the bulk of the night’s business, four agenda items combined to give Lidl the plot they need to build a 35,692 square foot grocery store. The individual items were a rezoning of the anchor piece, a rezoning of a small adjoining tract, an annexation request, and a rezoning of the annexed property.
The lion’s share of the property in question is where the J&R Clothing shopping center currently sits on Highway 85 North, just down from the Fayette Pavilion. Lidl has acquired that property and will tear down the current building to develop a new grocery store. It’s size will just miss the 35,000 sq. ft. cutoff for its current C-2 zoning, leading to the request for C-3 (Highway Commercial) zoning.
In order to meet the required 75 feet of undisturbed buffer, Lidl has acquired two small adjoining pieces of land. The Satterfield property is already in the City and will be rezoned from R-22 (Single Family Residential) to C-3. The final piece is the annexation of .96 acres, currently owned by Abe Banks and Robert Nipper, into the City of Fayetteville, which will then be zoned C-3 to mesh with the other pieces. The County expressed no opposition to the annexation request.
Adding the two small pieces gives Lidl the complete stretch of land it needs to build its desired store with the required buffer and no needed variances from the city.
“Effectively we are buying the buffer so we can come back to you today with zero variance requests,” said Mark Moore, an attorney representing Lidl USA.
Moore lauded the building template’s abundance of natural lighting and “super energy efficient” design, though it will have to go back before the Planning and Zoning Commission for architectural review before any actual building begins.
During public comments, former Fayetteville Mayor Greg Clifton expressed excitement about the addition, but wondered if Lidl might have been persuaded to move into an already-unoccupied building instead.
“I’m very proud that we have the opportunity to be one of their locations as they enter the United States market, however I would much rather see it be situated in our TAD district, perhaps in the Big Lots or Food Giant building,” he said.
Councilwoman Kathaleen Brewer assured that staff had done their best in trying to fill a vacant plot, but it would not work.
“They have specific specifications that they have to adhere to,” Brewer said of Lidl’s corporate office.
That satisfied Clifton.
“If that’s what we’ve got to do to get them, let’s do it,” he said.