The contract with Lidl has been terminated, but Greensboro Planning Director Sue Schwartz said that doesn’t mean there won’t be a Lidl built on the site.

The contract was for Lidl to purchase the redevelopment property at the corner of South Elm Street and East Gate City Boulevard no later than Nov. 20, and that isn’t going to happen.

Schwartz said that until the city had a “very involved discussion” with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), it would be impossible to judge what the path forward would be.

Schwartz said the city had spent millions, perhaps as much as $7 million, cleaning up the Brownfield site about 10 years ago. After that cleanup the city received approval to move forward with the development of the site from what was then the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and what is now DEQ.

Schwartz said that since the city had not been in communication with DEQ about the property, she was unaware of what issues DEQ had found with the site in 2023 as opposed to 10 years ago. But she said that according to Lidl, DEQ said it could take between 18 months and three years for DEQ to approve development of the site.

Schwartz said, “No matter who develops there, we are going to have to know in 2023 terms what it will take to build there.”

The property is a Brownfield site that had underground tanks and the remnants of a coal gasification facility among other issues.  Schwartz said the city had the tanks removed and completed the remediation of the site required by DENR at the time.

Schwartz said that because Lidl was unwilling to purchase the property when the cost of cleaning up the site wouldn’t be known for 18 months to three years, it didn’t mean that Lidl was abandoning the project.

Schwartz said that she thought Lidl was still committed to building the first grocery store in what has been termed a food desert and that this was not a Lidl issue but a site issue.

Schwartz said that in 10 years the standards had changed and that evidently the site that met the previous standards won’t meet today’s standards.