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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, June 15, 2019 1:00 am

Aldi plans to build Illinois Road store

4th city location would be in front of Lowe's

ROSA SALTER RODRIGUEZ | The Journal Gazette

Southwest Fort Wayne is getting a new no-frills Aldi grocery store, according to documents filed with the Department of Planning Services.

The store would be in front of the existing Lowe's home improvement store east of the intersection of Illinois and Thomas roads, an area now largely a parking lot. The address will be 4466 Illinois Road.

The store is planned to have 20,517 square feet and the project is listed as costing $2.6 million.

The project is already appropriately zoned, so no plan commission approval is needed, department of planning staff members said, noting the project must receive other departmental approvals before beginning.

The approximately 2.5 acres for both Lowe's and Aldi's will remain owned by CFS #1 LLC, of Rockingham, North Carolina, application documents say. No timetable is listed in the documents.

Aldi has three stores in Fort Wayne, on South Anthony Boulevard, near Northcrest Plaza on Coldwater Road, and on Lima Road south of Walmart. Huntington, Auburn and Columbia City also host Aldi stores. The most recent to open is in Auburn.

According to media reports and the Aldi website, Aldi has more than 1,800 locations in 35 states and is focused on growing in Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states, Florida and California.

The company plans to have 2,500 stores by the end of 2022, which would make it the third-largest supermarket chain in the United States, behind Walmart and Kroger.

Aldi has built growth on cutting costs and a low-price policy. That includes its policy on shopping carts, which requires customers to pay a quarter to unlock a cart. Customers, who also must bag their own groceries, get back the money when the cart is returned.

The company stocks a limited selection of items, many of them off-brand look-alikes to major labels. Aldi also competes with lower prices than traditional groceries or health-foods stores on items labeled natural and organic.

A spokesman for the company answered an email but said he had no more information about the project.

rsalter@jg.net