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City’s fourth Aldi planned for southwest side

Space on southwest side to be filled by grocery store

A grocery chain plans to open a store on West Jefferson Boulevard across from the Fresh Market, but it likely will cater to different clientele.

A 17,000-square-foot Aldi store is planned on a 3.5-acre site on Fort Wayne’s southwest side, next to Stein Mart. Officials are expected to file plans with the Allen County Department of Planning Services in coming days.

CBRE Sturges Development is in talks to sell the property to the Batavia, Ill.-based grocery, said Brad Sturges, president. He said the company has tried to sell the land on numerous occasions, but issues with flooding, the effect on the environment and similar concerns were always a snag.

“We just finally decided to develop it ourselves and get it ready,” Sturges said.

In the midst of doing so, Aldi officials took note and inquired, and now a deal is in the works.

“It is not closed yet, but yes, we will be submitting plans with the city and plan on it happening,” said Justin Furr, a real estate director for Aldi who is based in Greenwood. “Fort Wayne is a good market for us.”

The West Jefferson store would be the fourth Aldi store in the city. There are two on Lima Road and another on South Anthony Boulevard. Aldi has more than 1,200 U.S. stores in 32 states, including 63 in Indiana. Over the last several years, the grocer has added up to 80 new stores a year.

The privately owned discount grocery sells fresh meat and produce, canned goods, frozen food and dairy, bakery and paper items. It cuts costs by keeping a low number of store employees, having customers bag their own merchandise and other methods. The new store will likely employ 10 to 15 workers, making at least $10 to $13.50 an hour.

Sturges has put in retention ponds, addressed drainage issues and made other infrastructure improvements, he said.

“Retailers don’t like to have to deal with those types of things,” Sturges said, so he made the site shovel-ready.

“We’re excited because we’ve been looking for a good fit for the space for a long time.”