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Discount grocer Aldi could be coming to the College Park area with a new store planned on John Young Parkway.
Discount grocer Aldi could be coming to the College Park area with a new store planned on John Young Parkway. (Handout)

Discount grocer ALDI is eyeing a parcel on John Young Parkway across from the city’s new Packing District Park for a new store.

ALDI representatives held a pre-application meeting in December with Orlando city planning staff regarding the 2-acre site, which is in the District West planned development.

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Auto magnate Don Mealey bought the 71.5-acre site, which stretches along John Young Parkway from Princeton Street to W.D. Judge Drive. He won approval in 2019 for the rezoning and conditional use permit to build a new Don Mealey Sport Subaru dealership at the northeast corner of the site, just south of the Walmart Supercenter on Princeton. Mealy applied for building permits for the dealership in 2020 and is awaiting final approval.

The new Aldi grocery store could be accessed via the new Don Mealey Way or by the driveway onto John Young Parkway.
The new Aldi grocery store could be accessed via the new Don Mealey Way or by the driveway onto John Young Parkway. (City of Orlando)

The approved masterplan created two commercial lots fronting on Princeton at the signalized entrance to the property and another two south of the dealership, with a right-in right-out driveway onto John Young Parkway. Those are the lots under consideration by ALDI, according to city records.

Tad Dixon, principal of First Team Commercial, represents Mealey and confirmed they are in negotiations with the German-owned grocer. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we are actively working toward an agreement,” he said. The lots on Princeton are still available, he noted.

Dixon said Mealey is waiting for building permit approvals to begin the environmental cleanup of the property and start construction on the 49,000-square-foot Subaru dealership. “We hope to have permits by the end of the February, and then we’re looking at about a 12 month construction period,” he said.

The grocer may be in lease negotiations with Dr. Phillips Charities for a site next to the new Cannery apartments.

The District West plan also carves out the southernmost 12 acres for a multifamily use. Charlotte-based Crosland Southeast received approval Tuesday from Orlando’s Municipal Planning Board for 247 apartments in 2020. Brandon Hueber, vice president of development, told GrowthSpotter they were drawn to the District West site because it’s right across the street from the new Four Roots Farm in the Packing District Park. The park will also be home to the new Orlando Tennis Center and a YMCA family center.

Toll Brothers is expected to close this quarter on a residential site adjacent to the park for a luxury townhome community.

Dr. Phillips Charities, master developer of the 202-acre mixed-use Packing District, is also planning a new grocery store nearby at the northeast corner of Princeton and Orange Blossom Trail. Last October, the charity’s planner firm filed a master site plan for the retail site at that corner indicating that Publix would be the grocery anchor, but that it would be constructed in the second phase of the project.

ALDI’s corporate office announced an ambitious plan in 2017 to add 900 new stores in the U.S. over five years, with a goal of making it the third largest grocer in the country by 2022. With more than 2,000 stores now across 36 states, ALDI is on track to achieve that goal.

Last year the company opened new stores in St. Cloud and Windermere and took over leases at Lucky Market stores throughout the area, including at Vineland Pointe that will reopen in March. A new store is also planned this year in Kissimmee across from The LOOP shopping center.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated to reflect the MPB vote approving the District West Apartments master plan.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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