Greensboro City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba started work on Feb. 1 so the Tuesday, Feb. 15 meeting was his first Greensboro City Council business meeting.

Before coming to Greensboro Jaiyeoba was an assistant city manager and director of the planning and development department for the City of Charlotte, so it seems fitting that the first real issue that Jaiyeoba presented to City Council involved planning.

Before the city staff gave the presentation on the proposal to sell 3 acres at the corner of South Elm Street and Gate City Boulevard to Lidl for a grocery store, Jaiyeoba said that he wanted to focus on a few points.

First he said that this was about building a grocery store in a food desert but that the terms of the agreement was not 15 years, but five years from closing with two possible one year renewals for a total of seven years.

 He also said that prior to closing which would be in April 2023, “The purchaser will define details of what the arrangement will be for parking and there will be a formal agreement that the city will accept.  So we have enough time to really discuss that.”

Jaiyeoba said, “I will acknowledge and be the first to acknowledge that a surface parking lot is not the highest and best use of land especially in the city’s downtown, but it is not just this lot, we need to look around us.”

Jaiyeoba said that at an upcoming work session parking in this area and in the entire downtown would be discussed, so that the city could move forward in collaborative way with developers, property owners, Downtown Greensboro Inc. and other stakeholders toward a solution.

He said, “I do understand the concern of Lidl having that parking lot of 100 to 150 spaces tonight, but that is not the end of the discussion regarding parking.”

Jaiyeoba said that the proposed 2.5 acre mixed use development on the Union Square campus across South Elm Street with affordable and market rate housing had to be considered and that the Lidl could be a “catalyst” for the area.

The City Council approved the land sale to Lidl by a 9-0 vote.