ALDI store coming to Portage near old Kmart building

Portage will get an ALDI food store, pending city approvals.

The national grocer submitted significantly advanced plans to build a new store near the old Kmart location on the city’s north side. The old Kmart building, located at 2935 New Pinery Road, will remain.

“We’re eager to open our first store in Portage,” Atty McGrath, ALDI’s Oak Creek division vice president, said in a press release. “We look forward to showing the Portage community the significant benefits that can come from shopping at ALDI, both for their wallets and lifestyles.”

The proposed store is larger than the company’s typical food store and would encompass 19,636 square feet. The plans include five aisles with an organic foods section, according to a March 15 memo from Steve Sobiek, Portage’s business development, and planning director.

City planners are expected to review and could potentially approve the site plan for a new store Monday.

The plans are very well along in the planning process. In addition to a site plan, ALDI submitted a demolition plan, grading and erosion control plan, landscaping plan and exterior lighting plan, among other documents.

“A new store is under contract and undergoing municipal approvals, with a goal of opening in the second half of 2016, if all contingencies are met,” according to the ALDI press release, which was given to the Daily Register by city officials Thursday.

“We’re excited,” said commercial developer Richard Lynn, who’s firm Lynn Holdings owns the land. Lynn is also a member of the Portage Common Council.

Lynn said that he has been talking with ALDI since 2005 and kept in touch over the years trying to land a store in Portage. The deal finally came together in the last six months.

“Our deal is done … It is going to be a great addition for Portage,” said Lynn. “My whole team spent a lot of time and energy on it. We kind of knew that we could get them if we had the right piece of land.”

The land abutting the major thoroughfare New Pinery Road, near Subway and other businesses, proved to be the right piece of land. ALDI moving into the area will mean good things for the vacant Kmart building and the surrounding area, Lynn said.

“We are working with several other retailers, which we can’t talk about right now, to develop that site. We expect to get that whole area developed,” Lynn said.

Mayor Bill Tierney said that the prospect of ALDI coming to town had been talked about since prior to his election three years ago.

“It has been a long time coming,” Tierney said. “We never stopped making contacts. This is a true case of patience as a virtue.”

Tierney said the business will complement the other retail stores in the New Pinery business corridor.

“Pierce’s (Markets) is well aware they are coming, as well as Wal-Mart,” Tierney said. “We feel that there is room for everybody there because they all bring their own niche.”

He continued: “We feel that they will be very successful here. We're looking forward to a long and enduring partnership.”

ALDI operates nearly 1,500 stores in 32 states, according to the company’s website. The closest ALDI stores to Portage are in Baraboo, Sun Prairie, and Madison.

The company is also planning a similar larger-style facility in Waukegan, Illinois, according to Sobiek’s memo.

Detailed site plan documents are available for review on the city’s website in the Plan Commission meeting packet for March 21.

Lynn and Tierney said the news will likely be very popular with the public. The name ALDI, they said, was one of the most frequent business names to come up in a discussion about what kind of development the city needs.

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