A resolution on the Feb. 15 City Council agenda to approve a recommendation from the Greensboro Redevelopment Commission to sell part of the Union Square campus for a stand-alone grocery store is getting pushback from a prominent downtown developer.
The proposal is to sell 734 South Elm St. to Lidl US Operations LLC “for the purpose of developing and building a grocery store of between 25,000 and 36,000 square feet, with at least 100 parking spaces.”
The site plan included in the agenda packet shows a surface parking lot on the corner of South Elm Street and Gate City Boulevard with the grocery store further south on the lot.
Andy Zimmerman of AZ Development, which owns The Gateway building across Gate City Boulevard as well as number of other properties in the area, said, “I’m not against Lidl, but a stand-alone grocery store and surface parking is not what is needed in this area.”
Zimmerman said that he had been discussing the development of that piece of property with the city and had been told that any development had to include a residential component.
He said his proposal for the property, which he has discussed with the city and the Redevelopment Commission, would include apartments and a grocery store, as well as other retail and much needed parking for the area.
Zimmerman said, “There is a person out there with a petition claiming that I am trying to block that project and I don’t want a Lidl store there. That is not the truth.”
He said, “The truth is that out of weakness and despair, the city planning department and the Redevelopment Commission have struck a bad deal with Lidl.”
Zimmerman said that if the property was developed as a stand-alone grocery store with surface parking that the parking problems that already exist in the area would only get worse.
Zimmerman said, “My point is not that Lidl is not the right grocery store, but that it needs to be a part of a bigger development that benefits not just Lidl but the entire area. A surface parking lot is not what we need.”
Zimmerman said the agreement with Lidl that was being proposed allowed Lidl five years to develop the property, but also included two options that could allow the property to be undeveloped for as long as 15 years.
Zimmerman said he was prepared to move forward with his plan for developing the property that would include residential, a grocery store – which could be Lidl – other retail development and parking that would help solve the parking issues in the area, and he said he wasn’t asking for participation from the city.
He said, “It would be transformational for the area and a surface parking lot is not transformational.”
Let him submit his proposal in drawing, because to honest that space has been there to be taken advantage of, he dragged his feet on on the gateway building repairs and now we are supposed to slow down because he has an ideal now.
I think the city has done enough for Zimmerman. Maybe it is time for council to worry about developers other than Zimmerman, et al. Maybe that side of town would like a decent grocery store. I guess if Andy cannot make money then no one should make money.
I SUPPORT THE APPROVED DOWNTOWN GREENSBORO GROCERY STORE
“The person” is referring to is me! My name is Eric Robert and I also own a few downtown properties including the Flour Mill also adjacent to the property in question.
Zimmerman , is using Nancy Vaughan and Zack Matheny to kill the deal because he wants parking for his tenant and upcoming event space… Period.
Greensboro tax payers have already paid over $1.2 Million to grade and gravel that lot for a temporary lot at his request.
He is now holding our city hostage because of his poor planning. He does not have a plan ready to go, no one has seen a pro forma, no proof of financing…just hot air and a Hammer article with very little research.
His plan is to have us pay for it, as we have with each and everyone of his “endeavor” . A simple google search will validate this fact. Zimmerman’s short coming are not tax payer’s responsibility!
Now, his disinformation is typical as the redevelopment land still has three additional parcels with planned , upcoming residential development. We gave him incentives on buildings he did not yet own, we paid for his tenant ‘s upfits within his building… (Centric brands).
Worth noting that Zimmerman was part of the previous development group named the Arden group …What Happened? well according to some within the group, “a person” sabotaged the deal from the inside.
John , thanks for providing a platform for people to speak out, i choose to state the facts, others are doing so and twisting the facts. I am now looking forward to collaborating with Lidl to solve the issue of a grocery store, and parking included for downtown. Unfortunately it wont include apartments as well.
How about stating the fact of how much money in incentives, cash, and tax credits you have received from the city of Greensboro? DGI included.
What a great journalist you are John, deleting my previous comment is in poor taste…even by your standards.
Hey john, I really was hoping you were better than this man . Are you silencing me as a man or me as a mayoral candidate. My number is 336 333 9929.
You are making a mistake by publishing your phone number, or any other personal information for that matter.
So glad Lidl didn’t hear of the shootings and people killed at the nightclub at the mill. Also glad you were finally shut down after the last murder
I submitted conceptual plans months ago. Met with planning many times.
LOL, this project has been in the works for 20 years….As a “developer”, did you submit a pro forma for the project? Did you submit proof of financing ? As an executive board member of DGI, have you done anything to involve the community to see what they wanted? Will there be a grocery store , as planned for that exact site , since the South Elm Redevelopment was first conceived? When the city allowed you to place an upset bid, you refused as you would have had to include a grocery store as part of your proposal. Why didn’t you make it all happen when you and the Arden group controlled that parcel? You submitted pretty pictures, that’s all…not plans!
The cash money is the problem. If the city cannot be Andy’s financier then he cannot do it.
Oooh Zmmy, you sure are a class act. So glad the community now, at least sees you for what you really are.
PS: The Mill, my tenants and I are actually doing great, thank you so much for caring.
Mr Z: you are trying to block another business. It’s using the political system to block competition. That happens all the time, everywhere.
What is “needed” is what the consumer wants, not what you, or anyone else does. If Lidl (similar to Aldi) builds a store, I would shop there as opposed to any other retail food store in the downtown area. This is how free enterprise works to the benefit of everyone. It is up to the consumer to decide.
Since you have no other options that’s a great idea
Do not continue to vote for these clowns. Is Hightower the council person for this property area. If so she needs to speak up for the south side and fight Zimmerman taking more money from the city. He can’t do anything without city money. How about keeping your hands out of the taxpayers pockets.
DTF, this is in District 2, Goldie Wells. Sharon’s district is across gate city to the North East i believe.
Even better. Mrs. Wells was appointed and then re-elected (if I recall correctly). Hey Goldie, you’ve been in Greensboro politics for years. Do something good and make the grocery store, with a developer whose name does not end in Z. Andy lives to C-block other developers through Zach and Nancy. Right.
I have no financial or political stake in this deal. Just a regular citizen. But I would like to see something more appropriate for our downtown. This is a suburban layout and what’s worse is that the parking buts up against Gate City Blvd and not the store. I definitely support Lidl coming downtown. No city in North Carolina has a Lidl downtown. But there is plenty of time for Lidl to work with developers to build a true urban grocery store. Maybe a store with 5 or 6 story apartments above it and parking hidden from the street.
Greensboro: “We want a more walkable downtown.”
Also Greensboro: “Street-facing surface lots & retaining walls? Why not?”
I think Lidl at that particular spot would be a perfect addition.
Winston Salem has a Lidl close to downtown. I respect Mr. Zimmerman but I have seen him ask and get taxpayer money over and over and over again. I appreciate all he has done for all parts of Downtown. But, you cannot cater to one developer. If someone comes in with a proposal, especially with their own money then it should be allowed to go through the process. Mr. Zimmerman shouldn’t be interfering in the process, not should be have any influence over Zoning and Council decisions. If he has some to bring to the table, he needs to go through the same process. It would be especially nice if he would finally bring his own money. He has plenty. Let the Lidl proposal go through the process. I work downtown and would love to have a grocery store to go to for lunch items or dinner on the way home.
I would absolutely love to see a Lidl in this spot!! It would be an asset to the people living in the area. If Mr. Zimmerman can progress why has he not done so? The talk on this subject has gone on quite long enough. And I’m not talking about doing it on the taxpayers dime either.
Mr. Zimmerman I think you protest to much. My lord shootings have been happening in that particular area for YEARS. Maybe that really didn’t effect you. You seem just to want to make money….for YOU.
Do we want to talk about shootings on and around Lewis Street? Or at any of the other clubs around Greensboro? Like Trust on West Gate City/High Point Road? No ones hands are clean.
Mary, don’t mind him, bless his little heart…he is not getting his way so Zimmy is upset . On a serious note, i sense major delusions of grandeur here.:” … I am now looking forward to collaborating with Lidl to solve the issue of a grocery store, and parking included for downtown….” Is he an elected official, does he have any municipal role? did anyone appoint him as a liaison to incoming investors ? I suspect we may have given him too much importance and might have created a mini monster. Oh and before I forget , thank you John for providing such a great platform indeed.
Eric has anyone ever told you that you are full of crap. If not you are sir indeed full of crap. Maybe you and Nancy can hold hands later. And just so you know I don’t care for much for Mr. Zimmerman either