An increasingly popular discount grocery store chain is in the works for North Atherton Street in Patton Township.
An Aldi grocery store has been proposed for phase 1 of the Patton Crossing development, the 30-acre commercial and residential development being planned for the former Penn State Mobile Home Park site.
Aldi and property owner 1752 North Atherton Street Associates —led by developers Bob Poole, Ara Kervandjian and Heidi Nicholas — submitted a final land development plan for the 20,422-square-foot store to Patton Township on Friday.
The German grocery store chain has more than 10,000 locations in 20 countries. A ‘no-frills’ store Aldi is known for discount prices on custom-branded groceries and household items, and driving down costs through means such as charging a quarter to rent a shopping cart and making bags available only for a fee.
In the United States, Aldi has more than 1,900 stores and, according to a 2019 CNN report, is focused on growing in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, California and Florida. It’s on track to become the third largest grocery chain in the U.S. by 2022, behind Walmart and Kroger.
The proposed Patton Crossing store would be located at the northwest corner of the property, along North Atherton Street. Access would be from a new driveway constructed off of Atherton, opposite Woodycrest Street at the signalized intersection. A traffic impact study was submitted last year and recommends new turn lanes in both directions on Atherton.
Plans show 101 paved parking spaces for the store. Associated infrastructure for the store includes underground stormwater management facilities, site lighting, curbing and a sidewalk connection to existing streets and the remainder of the Patton Crossing site.
Patton Township Planning Commission is scheduled to review the land development plan on March 2, with the Board of Supervisors potentially voting on whether to approve on March 11. Poole previously said he hopes for construction on phase 1 of Patton Crossing to begin by January 2021.
The closest Aldi stores to State College currently are in Burnham and Altoona.
1752 North Atherton Street Associates first requested in 2017 rezoning of the former mobile home park for mixed-use. A much-debated new mixed-use zoning ordinance to be applied to the site was approved in 2018.
In September, supervisors approved a master plan for the project after discussion and review throughout 2019. The overall project includes 20 buildings to be constructed over up to 12 phases, with plans for a hotel, grocery store, restaurants, office space, shops, apartments and a large plaza and public gathering area.
Though the plan projects 25 years for all phases to be complete, Poole said in August that is a conservative estimate and it could all be done much sooner.
‘We never know exactly how long it’s going to take,’ Poole said. ‘We don’t create the demand for the project; we satisfy the people who want to be there. Our hope is it goes much quicker… It’s not an exact science because we don’t know who’s going to come in next. We have a few people already that definitely want to be here.’
‘We don’t create the demand. We satisfy it. People will call us, we’ll call them and try to bring them,’ he added in September. ‘We also care about the mix. We could fill that up faster, but we want a mix of restaurants, a mix of local people… you’re going to want that at the end also. You can always make something fill up faster just by putting anything in there, but that’s not what we’re trying to do.’
Conceptual diagram of the Patton Crossing master plan. The proposed Aldi store would be located in building at at the top left, along North Atherton Street.