German grocery retailer Lillis is seeking a rezoning of property along on Route 40 in Bear as store location.
The grocer has been scouting sites in Delaware as part of its expansion efforts in the region.
Lidl has a distribution center in western Cecil County west of Newark.
The proposed New Castle County ordinance calls for the rezoning of property east of Route 40 and Salem Church Road from residential. The area has a large retail and commercial presence.
The site is near the location of a Food Lion store. Food Lion, part of a Dutch company, operates larger supermarkets than Lidl.
The preliminary zoning application calls for a 29,000 square foot store and a 7,000 retail building at the site.
Lidl opened a location in Middletown a few years ago, with work underway on a location in Dover. A site in the Brookside area south of Newark at the site of Vince’s Sports Center was reportedly dropped.
The grocer cut back on the pace of expansion, at least for a time as it went through some changes in its U.S. operation. That led to speculation about the status of the newly built distribution center. Lidl later confirmed the center remained a part of its expansion plans.
More recently, the family-owned company has been focusing on the Long Island, NY area after the purchase of a small grocery store chain.
Lidl is a rival in Germany and Europe to Aldi. Both chains operate on a discount price model with the use of private brands.
Aldi has a big head start over Lidl in the U.S. After Lidl’s expansion to the East Coast and South, Aldi stepped up the pace of store openings in Delaware and other areas.
Rezonings can be lengthy processes in New Castle County under the county’s Unified Development Code.
Progress has been made in expediting non-retail projects in the county, which has seen the loss of manufacturing employment with the closing of both auto plants and a steel mill.
Still, the opposition can be intense to development, with residents usually citing traffic issues.