The next wave of European grocery chain stores to invade Richmond is beginning to swell.
Lidl closed last week on the site of its planned location at 9101 Hermitage Road, a 9.2-acre unimproved tract along Staples Mill Road in Henrico County.
The Germany-based chain, through its Lidl US Operations LLC, purchased the property from Hermitage Investment Group LLC on Aug. 29 for $800,000. A county assessment in January valued the land at $675,900.
The site is one of at least six that Lidl has purchased or plans to acquire in metro Richmond, including two others in Henrico, two in Chesterfield County and one in the city.
It closed in late February on 4.5 acres at 5110 Laburnum Ave., the site of the former Bill Talley Ford dealership, which it purchased for $2.8 million. The next day, March 1, it closed on a 5-acre site at 11701 Iron Bridge Road, which it purchased for $2.5 million.
Deals are also in the works for stores at 1301 Mall Drive in Chesterfield, a 3.1-acre site owned by Southeastern Associates Inc.; a 36,000-square-foot space in Markel | Eagle Partners’ GreenGate project west of Short Pump; and a half-acre site at 4700 W. Broad St., the site of the former Colonial Downs betting parlor.
While the company has yet to open a store in the U.S. or release design plans or renderings for its stores here, a layout of a prototype Lidl location shows a standalone store totaling 36,000 square feet with at least 150 parking spaces on a minimum of 3.5 acres.
Following the lead of fellow German grocery competitor Aldi, Lidl is actively pursuing sites along the East Coast from Pennsylvania to Georgia. It announced last year that it was establishing its U.S. corporate headquarters in Virginia, in Arlington County, and a distribution center is planned in Spotsylvania County.
Lidl spokesman Will Harwood said the company’s investment in those two facilities exceeds $200 million. While he did not disclose the construction cost of each store, Harwood said the company continues to seek additional sites in and around Richmond, where its land purchases alone already exceed $6 million.
“We’re looking at a number of sites in the area,” Harwood said. “We’re always looking for more.
“We’re actively laying the early preparations to launch our stores,” he said.
Omnipresent throughout Europe, Lidl operates nearly 10,000 stores in 26 countries. The chain offers meats, produce, bakery items and household goods at economical prices.
While Lidl is laying the groundwork for its Richmond stores, Aldi has opened eight stores in the area since entering the market last year, with more in the works in Chesterfield and Henrico.