Documents: Aldi to construct 2nd grocery store in Dubuque

A national grocer plans to open a second store in Dubuque.

Aldi intends to construct a grocery store in Plaza 20 on a parcel located just east of Starbucks on Dodge Street, according to a building permit application submitted to the City of Dubuque this week by a contractor. That document indicates the property is owned by Aldi.

Repeated calls to Aldi this week seeking comment were not returned, and Sara Hutchinson, vice president of Plaza 20, Inc., declined to provide any further information on the development.

The 2.1-acre parcel that will be the site for the planned store stretches from the Starbucks to Sonic properties. The parcel includes the property that previously featured a building — now demolished — that housed Fett Accounting & Tax Services and the property currently occupied by Subway, which has announced plans to move to a new building in Plaza 20.

The Germany-based grocer has more than 2,000 U.S. stores, including at 2160 Holliday Drive in Dubuque. The company markets itself as a no-frills, low-price alternative to other grocery store competitors.

The building permit application for the new store submitted by MS Consultants, of Columbus, Ohio, puts the total valuation of the Plaza 20 project at $1.7 million, and the site plan submitted to the city states the completed store will cover 20,664 square feet, contain three “e-commerce” parking spots and set aside a portion of the property for future expansion.

Online property records indicate the Holliday Drive Aldi spans about 17,900 square feet.

The building permit application does not state when construction of the store is expected to begin.

Officials with Aldi and Plaza 20 this week moved to secure approval in relation to elements of the project. Online property records show that Plaza 20 Inc. purchased the 2.1-acre parcel from RBS Real Estate LLC for $1.05 million in November.

Dubuque Zoning Advisory Commission members approved a request by Aldi Inc. and Plaza 20 Inc. to waive a city site design standard related to landscape buffer yard requirements for the project.

During the commission meeting, officials did not refer to the project as being an Aldi grocery store specifically. Mark Seidl, project manager and associate at Pinnacle Engineering Group who was speaking on behalf of Aldi Inc. and Plaza 20, Inc., referred to the planned retailer as a “national grocer.”

Zoning Advisory Commission members also voted on Wednesday to recommend approval of a request by Plaza 20 Inc. to amend the zoning boundary of Plaza 20 and to increase the property’s freestanding sign allowance. That recommendation will be considered by Dubuque City Council members at their March 20 meeting.

In the staff report for the proposed zoning amendment, city staff stated “the changes are being proposed because the property will soon be home to a new general retailer.”

This week, Plaza 20 Inc. issued a press release stating it is “negotiating with a national retailer to occupy the former Subway site. The deal is not yet finalized.”

Meanwhile, Subway will open a new location next to Harbor Freight Tools.

Plaza 20 Inc. obtained a building permit last month for a $500,000 project that involves constructing a new building for Subway.

The 1,800-square-foot restaurant, anticipated to open in late April or early May, will feature outdoor seating and drive-thru service.

Jessica Glasbrenner is a co-owner of RBS Subways, Inc., which owns and operates all Subway restaurants in Dubuque.

“It’s going to be nice because it’s a brand-new building and will be much more accessible,” she said. “We want to give many different options to our customers.”

With the addition of the drive-thru service, Glasbrenner said, her company intends to hire one or two additional service staff members.