A year has passed since discount German grocer Lidl made its plans official for building a grocery store on underused property along one of Atlanta’s marquee streets.

Those plans raised questions of whether a standalone Lidl was the wisest use for such an urban location. And those watching the project closest remain in a sort of limbo. 

Lidl representatives in May 2022 filed for land disturbance permits to start building a 34,000-square-foot “non-standard prototype” store at 268 Ponce de Leon Avenue. The site is across the street from an under-construction Krispy Kreme replacing its iconic, fire-prone predecessor.  

Facade design for the standalone Lidl store in the 200 block of Ponce de Leon Avenue as submitted to the City of Atlanta last summer. Lidl; designs, Robertson Loia Roof

As designed by Alpharetta-based Robertson Loia Roof architects, whose portfolio includes the Edgewood Retail District, Lidl’s plans called for a two-story building with the grocery up top and 103 parking spaces in a concealed garage below.

That parking garage would be accessed from entrances on streets bordering the site to the east and west, Argonne and Penn avenues. No other retail beyond the grocery store was in the mix.

A permit to demolish two buildings on site was listed as pending in late May this year, according to city permitting records.

The standalone grocery concept replaced plans for a mid-rise office building called Midtown Medical that Capital City Real Estate had put forward in 2020. At one point late that year, Lidl was signed to anchor the 150,000-square-foot, mixed-use building, before the concept was scrapped.

The mid-rise concept floated for the Ponce de Leon Avenue site in 2020. Capital City Real Estate

The planned Lidl site at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Argonne avenues, as seen in January. Google Maps

The site in question has played host to a car-detailing business, barbershop, food mart, and other businesses in small buildings over the past decade, but the vast majority of it has been empty land.

So where do Lidl’s plans stand now? It’s tough to say.

The company hasn’t responded to an inquiry about the Midtown project this week. Permitting records show no paperwork filings for more than a year. The grocer has recently shuttered stores in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs but reportedly still plans to expand in metro Atlanta. [UPDATE: 10:37 p.m, June 21: A Lidl spokesperson responds today with the following: "We are currently going through the entitlement process for our new site. As we get further in the process and have more details to share, I’ll be happy to get in touch. We continue to receive positive feedback from our Atlanta-area customers and look forward to opening more stores in the future."]

Designs for the Lidl concept's upper floor. Lidl; designs, Robertson Loia Roof

Courtney R. Smith, Midtown Neighbor’s Association president, said her group is regularly checking in with Lidl’s development team. MNA submitted a list of requests for design amendments and other concerns to Lidl following a series of community land use meetings.

“The Lidl team has committed to meeting with us to review current drawings in the context of those requests when they are ready to move forward,” Smith wrote to Urbanize Atlanta via email. “We hope to continue to collaborate with [Lidl] to welcome an affordable grocery to the neighborhood that is hopefully architecturally thoughtful and logistically smart.”  

In the gallery above, find a closer look at what Lidl could have in store for this section of Ponce, according to the most recent plans filed with the city.


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