Aldi grocery store in Washington

The Aldi grocery store in Washington stands at 1505 Heritage Hills Drive Nov. 4. The store is planning to move locations and will build a larger store at Phoenix Center. 

A global grocer is seeking to build a new 20,000-square-foot location on a 2.47-acre lot in the Phoenix Center Shopping Center, according to Washington city leaders. 

Rob Jeffries, regional vice president for German-based discount grocery store chain, said on Friday, “We do not have any information to share about a potential new Aldi store opening in Washington.”

This contradicts information from Tom Neldon, a Washington Building Department official, and other city leaders who said this week that the company has submitted plans for the new store that would replace the current Aldi location at 1505 Heritage Hills Drive. 

Neldon said he anticipates that the city will approve the permits within the month, potentially as early as next week. Once approved, Aldi will have six months to complete construction, though Neldon said the city would likely extend the deadline if needed. 

“It is a pretty cut-and-dry project,” said Neldon regarding the new store at 3142 Phoenix Center Drive next to PetSmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. “I don’t think there will be any hang-ups.”

Neldon said the new store will be larger than the current Aldi location. Information regarding the current store’s square footage was not immediately available. 

“We are looking forward to Aldi having a newer and bigger location,” Neldon said. According to information from Aldi’s corporate office, there are more than 1,200 Aldi stores nationwide with the average size of those stores being about 12,000 square feet, much smaller than the average U.S. supermarket’s size of 40,000 square feet. 

There is a push to open new and bigger Aldi stores, according to Forbes magazine, which reported in June that the grocer hopes to open 100 new stores this year and is on pace by December 2022 to become the nation’s third-largest grocery chain, trailing only Walmart and Kroger as chains with more locations. New Aldi stores average about 17,000 square feet and are being built in areas where daily motor vehicle traffic exceeds 20,000 vehicles per day. 

Missouri Department of Transportation traffic counts completed last year documented that more than 23,000 vehicles per day drive past the new Aldi location on Highway 100 compared with the 17,000-plus vehicles that drive past the current Aldi location on Highway 47. 

Washington Community and Economic Development Director Sal Maniaci said the city is willing to help market the current Aldi location in hopes of finding a new retailer for the soon-to-be vacant site. 

“Aldi’s has been looking for another location in Washington for some time, so we are happy to see that they have found a location that will allow them to have a larger facility, offering more amenities to their shoppers,” Maniaci said. He said despite the nationwide data showing a decline of brick-and-mortar locations, Washington continues to buck that trend. 

“If you look at our sales tax reports, you’ll see that our sales taxes are up, and that is because people continue to shop in our community,” Maniaci said. According to sales tax reports shared with the Washington City Council, revenue from Washington’s 1 percent sales tax during fiscal year 2020 was $5.13 million, which was up from $4.7 million the year before.

“Those numbers show that for developers, it is still worthwhile to have a brick-and-mortar location in Washington,” he said.