Aldi Closes Deal to Build Tallahassee Site

TaMaryn Waters, Tallahassee Democrat
The deal is done. On Wednesday, Aldi closed on a deal to build a new 20,500 square-foot store in a detached parcel within the renamed Westend Square (formerly University Village Shopping Center) on West Pensacola Street.

The German discount grocer will occupy a roughly three-quarter acre detached parcel bookended by the Aveda Institute and Ocala Road. It comes on the heels of another Aldi being built out at the former Earth Fare on Apalachee Parkway.

“We’re very happy they closed … It’s wonderful,” said Steven Leoni, co-founder of Student Housing Partners, the shopping center’s property manager. “It’s my understanding they want to get started immediately. I know they are anxious to get going.”

Leoni said Aldi will be an attractive asset for Tallahassee’s west side, an area teeming with college students from Florida A&M and Florida State universities and Tallahassee Community College.

“We know they have an incredibly good reputation, and they’re in the target market with all three universities,” Leoni said. “That area of town really needs it.”

Aldi’s entry into the Tallahassee market comes after a supermarket shakeup in the capital city.

Two organic grocers — Lucky’s Market and Earth Fare — closed their doors last year in company liquidation moves.

Lucky’s Market, located on Ocala Road less than half-mile from where Aldi is building, had been operating for four years prior to closing. In 2010, Earth Fare opened in a 26,000 square foot building on Apalachee Parkway that was formerly a Circuit City store.

It too closed its doors and Aldi has plans for a 25,000 square foot store on a 2.5-acre lot, according to preliminary permit materials. Work on the existing building appeared to be ongoing this week.
Matt Thon, Haines City division vice president for Aldi, said the company is growing rapidly, especially in Florida and the Panhandle.

Aldi announced plans to build a new regional headquarters in Loxley, Alabama, roughly 225 miles away from Tallahassee. Thon said it’s scheduled to open next year.

“In the meantime, we are eager to open stores in Tallahassee and welcome new, local shoppers to Aldi later this year,” said Thon, in an email to the Tallahassee Democrat. Construction is slated to begin at Westend Square in early 2021 for the west-side store, Leoni said, adding the grocer is interested in opening several stores in Tallahassee.