German grocer has no ‘updates’ on former Kelly property

Just over a year after winning approval for a 36,000-square-foot grocery store on the property of Mike Kelly’s iconic Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern, Lidl’s site plan filed with the Town of Nags Head has expired.

Nags Head Planning Director Andy Garman told the Sentinel that the site plan expired on Oct. 4 and town officials have not received any communications from the German discount grocer. Lidl purchased the restaurant property—which sits on a 4.9 acres site at milepost 10.5 on U.S. 158 —in December 2017 for $3.9 million.

Lidl representatives went through a lengthy process last year to gain the necessary approvals for the proposed Nags Head store. However industry analysts have noted that the grocer’s success with its U.S. operations has since floundered, causing the company to reevaluate its strategy. 

When contacted by the Sentinel about the site plan’s expiration, Lidl US, LLC Public Relations Specialist Chandler Ebeier stated, “We do not have specific updates for this site at this time. However I can tell you, as we continue to expand our store footprint in North Carolina, we are very interested in serving the community.”

He also noted that as Lidl considers future stores, the corporation takes time to “evaluate a variety of considerations to ensure they’ll be most convenient for shoppers in the area. That process is currently underway, and as we have more concrete details to share in the future, we will look forward to getting in touch with you.”

If Lidl decides to move forward with the project, it will have to re-apply and go through the site plan process again, town officials have noted. How smoothly that process would go would largely depend on whether there were any changes to the plan.

Interviewed by the Sentinel in August, strategy and supply chain consultant Brittain Ladd asserted that Lidl should have never selected the Nags Head location. “It doesn’t fit the location…the odds are it will not be developed,” Ladd predicted at the time.

But when contacted by the Sentinel, Mike Kelly said “I don’t interpret [the delay] as they are not going to develop the site.” Rather, he cited the grocer’s reorganization at a national level as well as reevaluating its business model as the reason for inaction. 

Noting that there are also plans to build a Lidl in Elizabeth City, and the corporation has a distribution network in place, Kelly called for a “little bit of patience...I think people may be reading too much into [the delay] and expected development immediately.”

Lidl opened its first store in Germany in 1973 and has 10,000 stores in 27 countries. First opening in the United States in 2017, it has locations in Virginia, including Chesapeake and Norfolk, as well Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Reporter, Outer Banks Sentinel

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