Retailers

Aldi Readies Distinct Urban Site in Philly

1300 Fairmount project opens Dec. 3
Photographs courtesy of Aldi US

Aldi U.S. next week will welcome the first shoppers of a distinct new store anchoring a mixed-use project near Center City Philadelphia.

While the German-owned discounter, with U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill., has been opening new stores at a rapid pace for years now, the new unit at 1300 Fairmont Ave. in Philadelphia’s North Broad neighborhood is different than most in location and design. The facade is rendered in panels of orange that highlights its position as a ground-floor anchor of the newly built 14-story, 478-unit apartment building near the intersection of Broad Street and Fairmount Avenue. Its design includes large windows for increased natural lighting and locally inspired wall decals inside, including maps of historic downtown Philadelphia and some of the city’s famous monuments, such as the Liberty Bell, the company said. And at more than 15,000 square feet, it’s the largest of Aldi’s 11 Philadelphia locations.

Aldi was said to have signed a lease to occupy the space more than two years ago, making the store one of the most anticipated of its fleet and fairly unusual for the brand, whose typical locations are in suburban settings near other grocery stores and tend to conform to standard design prototypes.

Aldi Philadelphia exterior entrance

“Opening new grocery stores in the heart of a bustling city doesn’t happen every day, and we’re proud to provide even more Philadelphia residents easy access to fresh groceries at unbeatable prices,” said Bob Grammer, Center Valley division VP for Aldi. “We’ve been serving Philadelphia customers for more than 25 years, and we continue to open new stores in a variety of locations—cities, suburbs and rural areas—because savvy shoppers want Aldi in their communities. We are excited to open our first Philadelphia store in a mixed-use development, and we look forward to future expansion in the city.”

The $190 million 1300 Fairmont project was developed by RAL Development on an empty lot in the North Broad neighborhood, which has been revitalizing itself behind what the community development partnership calls “meds and eds," or healthcare and education, owing to the neighborhood’s proximity to Drexel University and Temple University, and to several center city hospitals that have also new development to city neighborhoods.

Aldi Philadelphia exterior side

Several other food retailers have been discovering Philadelphia’s neighborhoods for compact new concepts in recent years, including Sprouts Farmers Market, which built a flagship area store in the Lincoln Square project in 2018; The Giant Co.’s Giant Heirloom Market concept, which has opened three neighborhood stores in Philadelphia in the past two years and is reportedly eyeing a fourth in the famous Strawbridge’s department store building at 801 Market St.; and as in other U.S. cities, Trader Joe's and Target. Even the West Coast discounter Grocery Outlet appears to want to have a part, said to have interest in a North Philadelphia urban residential project.

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