German grocery chain Lidl hoping to finalize purchase
The German discount grocery store chain Lidl, the prospective buyer of Mike Kelly’s iconic Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern property, is scheduled to go before the Nags Head Board of Adjustment next week to obtain two zoning variances to the town’s zoning ordinance.
Representing Lidl locally, Kitty Hawk Attorney Crouse Gray told the Sentinel that a site plan with elevations for the property has been submitted, and the company is seeking variances from the ordinance so that it can move forward with the purchase and construction. Gray noted that it is premature at this point to talk about a timetable.
“The client obviously wants to go ahead so that they can build their product,” Gray said. “They’d love to close on the deal and begin construction soon after, but it’s contingent on what, if anything happens permit wise. Until that is sorted out, they can’t go any further.”
Kelly, a longtime Outer Banks restaurateur, announced last summer that he was in the process of selling his popular venue, which has been a fixture in Nags Head for the past 31 years. This winter, he said, there were some delays that pushed back the closing on the property.
Nags Head Deputy Town Manager Andy Garman said Lidl will be seeking two variances to the town’s zoning ordinance at the June 8 board of adjustment meeting.
The first, Garman said, is related to storm water management and how much fill is permitted on the property. The second is in regard to commercial architectural standards, specifically related to roof design.
“They applied for a site plan and during the technical review process, there were a few things they couldn’t meet,” Garman said, adding that if the variances are granted, the applicant will likely submit a site plan in light of the variances that were granted.
Typically, applicants will seek variances when demonstrating some sort of hardship related to the property.
Kelly said the request for variances is all “part of the process…The first step is the board of adjustment. It starts the conversation.”
Of the possibility of Lidl coming to the Outer Banks, Kelly said, “It’s pretty unique. They are just beginning to initiate their business in the United States. This is a European idea and mindset coming to us and it will potentially be very exciting.”
Kelly said he hasn’t visited a Lidl grocer yet, but with several opening in Hampton Roads area this summer – the first in Virginia Beach on June 15 – Kelly said he plans to take the time to visit one of the sites soon. A total of 20 Lidl stores are expected to launch in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina this summer as part of its initial U.S. expansion.
The first Lidl store opened in Germany in 1973, and today there are more than 10,000 stores worldwide. The company’s focus is on high quality, low prices and sustainability. Its buildings, according to its website, are “smart buildings” designed to save energy through LED lighting and a heat recovery system.