Discount grocery store Aldi is moving forward with its second planned State College-area location following unanimous conditional approval of its final site development plan by College Township Council on Thursday night.
The 19,221-square-foot store will be constructed on the former Krentzman Supply property at the corner of Benner Pike and Shiloh Road, next to the Nittany Mall and across from Sheetz.
Aldi’s first Centre Region store is planned for Patton Township as the first phase of the Patton Crossing commercial and residential development on North Atherton Street. Construction is slated to begin this year.
The College Township store will have a right-in/right-out access from Benner Pike as well as a full-movement intersection at the mall access road between the property and the Sears Auto Center that connects to Shiloh Road, civil engineer Tim Scheg, of APD Engineering and Architecture, said.
Aldi is awaiting a Highway Occupancy Permit from PennDOT for the Benner Pike access.
Parking includes 90 spaces, with four ADA spaces and four curbside pickup spaces located near the entrance to the store at the southwest corner of the building.
The store will have a “dual-tower” layout, raised at both the north and south ends. That’s not a typical design for Aldi stores, which often have one tower at the entrance. The second was included, based on comments from the township on a concept plan presented last summer, because of the building’s location as “gateway,” to the area.
“This building will be a little bit more expensive and a little nicer because of that,” Rory Garr, Aldi’s director of real estate for western Pennsylvania, said.
Aldi has a zoning hearing board appeal pending for building signage, which includes wall and ground-mounted displays that exceed township limits. Garr said the primary issue is adding signage to the second tower at the back of the building at the Shiloh Road intersection.
“That corner tower will look really strange with no identification on it,” Garr said.
Site plans include five-foot wide sidewalks along Benner Pike, Shiloh Road and the mall access road, with a sidewalk connecting from Benner Pike to the store. A CATA Bus stop pad will be included at the south end of the property along the mall access road.
Garr said last year that Aldi has long sought to have a presence in Centre County. Its nearest stores currently are in Burnham and Altoona.
“We’ve been trying in the area for a long time, and we were lucky enough to have the development on North Atherton then find this piece of property [on Benner Pike] and work out the parameters of the deal,” Garr said.
Aldi presented the concept plan last summer largely because the township’s Corridor Overlay District which was in place for the area required 70-foot setbacks that would have made it impossible to develop the Krentzman property. Several other businesses further down on Benner Pike also wrote to the township that they could not expand because of the setback requirements.
Council subsequently voted to remove the overlay, reverting the area to the underlying commercial zoning and its 50-foot setback requirements.
Several council members said on Thursday they also appreciated Aldi first presenting the concept plan, which is not required, because it gave the company an opportunity to address any potential issues before submitting the final development plan.
“I would …encourage other developers to come with a concept plan first,” Councilman Rich Francke said. “The goal a lot of times is to get things done and having a quick look at it to begin with can set a direction, for sure. I greatly appreciated the concept plan… It looked like our concerns were heard and addressed and I look forward to having Aldi in the township.”