Lidl, the German grocer, could begin work in as soon as five months on its supermarket planned for part of the South Philadelphia site along the Delaware River where a Foxwoods Casino was once proposed, according to a company official.
Sam Kachidza, a Philadelphia-based real estate manager with Lidl’s U.S. unit, said at a meeting of the Pennsport Civic Association on Wednesday that his company hoped to begin work as soon as it completes its purchase of the property, east of Christopher Columbus Boulevard between Reed and Dickinson Streets.
The acquisition is contingent on Lidl’s getting all the permits it needs for the project, which is expected to take five to nine months, he said. Among the permits needed is one that would allow the installation of a traffic light at Columbus Boulevard and Dickinson, which officials deem necessary for the site’s safety, he said.
The traffic light is part of $2 million to $3 million in improvements planned by Lidl, which also include a section of sidewalk for bicycle riders and a pedestrian island midway across Columbus, Kachidza said.
The market planned for the site will have around 36,000 square feet, among Lidl’s largest store formats for the United States. It will be built along Columbus, but access for shoppers will be limited to an entrance away from the sidewalk in the store’s parking lot.
Lidl opened its first U.S. stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia in June 2017, and has since been expanding up the Eastern Seaboard. It opened its first — and so far only — Pennsylvania location last month in Ridley Township, Delaware County.
Lidl also is moving forward with its planned store on Butler Street near Aramingo Avenue in Port Richmond, Kachidza said.
Also presenting at the Wednesday night meeting were the developers who had been planning 169 rowhouses on the parcel’s eastern, river-facing half, spanning from Reed to Tasker Street.
Those plans have been adjusted to entail a pair of horseshoe-shape mid-rise apartment buildings, rather than rowhouses, on the southern section of the development site, between Dickinson and Tasker. The rowhouse plan remains intact for the northern section, between Reed and Dickinson, where 92 of those homes are now planned.
The six- and seven-story apartment buildings, which would face each other across a courtyard, are to hold 300 rental units, with a parking garage in the southern building and retail spaces along Dickinson in the northern building, Zakin said.