The plan to build a Lidl grocery store on the corner of South Elm Street and Gate City Boulevard may have been controversial on social media, but it wasn’t at the Greensboro City Council meeting.
The City Council voted 9-0 to approve the sale of the 3-acre lot by the Greensboro Development Commission to Lidl at the Tuesday, Feb. 15 meeting. The Greensboro Development Commission had voted unanimously to approve the project.
The City Council was so anxious to vote that it was willing to forego the presentations by the Greensboro Planning Department and representatives of Lidl and hearing from the 12 people who had signed up to speak on the item.
However, Mayor Nancy Vaughan slowed down the process and said they should hear the presentations and from the public before voting.
Although some questions were raised, mainly about parking, no one spoke against the project.
Russ Clegg from the Planning Department said that with council approval, according to the current timeline, the sale to Lidl was expected to close in April 2023. He said that after the closing Lidl had five years to start construction of the 25,000- to 36,000-square-foot grocery store and parking lot with at least 100 spaces.
Councilmember Justin Outling said that he understood that parking was a concern in the area, “but notwithstanding that fact and that reality, I believe that this proposal is of great benefit to our community.”
Outling also noted that this project didn’t require incentives from the city and the City Council had in the past paid incentives for grocery stores to locate in food deserts.
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson said, “It is wonderful to see us addressing that need in an area that is a food desert.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower noted that the grocery store may create more interest in building housing in the area and that redevelopment projects take years.
She said, “I’m 100 percent behind supporting this project.”
Vaughan said, “I know that groceries, fresh groceries are really important to this area and having it on Gate City really gives it a high profile. I think it will benefit from people throughout the city shopping there.”
She added, “I hope we can get that timeline a little tighter.”