Aldi proposed for St. Augustine store in Seabridge Square
Aldi, the international discount supermarket chain, appears to be opening its first Northeast Florida store in St. Augustine.
A leasing plan for a redeveloped Seabridge Square, at 1795 U.S. 1 S., lists a "proposed Aldi" on its tenant roster and a site plan shows the store, with its blue logo, at the north end of the center.
Aldi would occupy 16,807 square feet of space in the 161,594-square-foot shopping center, which is west of U.S. 1, north of Florida 312.
The Selig Enterprises site at seligenterprises.com reports that Seabridge Square "is soon to receive a new look and new collection of national retail tenants."
It says the retail center "will undergo a $10 million renovation to make room for PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, Staples, Ulta Beauty and at least one full-service restaurant to be announced, to join the existing anchor, Marshalls."
The renovation will include space for additional small shops or a junior anchor.
The Aldi is shown at the northern end, next to Staples.
Aldi focuses on a streamlined selection of products and leases shopping carts for a refundable quarter, has about 60 stores in Central and South Florida – and sources have been saying the Jacksonville area could be next.
Sources say the chain is looking at Northeast Florida for several locations. While the Seabridge Square plan states the store is proposed, the inclusion of the name indicates Aldi is a viable prospect.
The contact for Selig Enterprises in Atlanta was not immediately available.
Officially, the chain, whose U.S. corporate offices are in a Chicago suburb, won't say a lot.
"Aldi is currently expanding in many markets, but we can't always confirm new store locations in advance," Aldi said in a statement Monday.
Aldi, based in Essen, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Batavia, Ill., operates more than 1,200 stores in 32 states, mainly from Kansas east to the coast.
It's also expanding to the West Coast, according to The Press-Enterprise website, pe.com. It reported in June that Aldi wants to build a 935,000-square-foot warehouse and office suite in Moreno Valley, Calif., near Los Angeles to serve an expansion.
Aldi entered Central Florida in 2008 and now has about 60 stores among 45 cities, including Ocala and Daytona, and intends to have 70 locations open by the end of the year.
Aldi says about 95 percent of its premium products are Aldi select brands sold only in its stores. National brands are found "on occasion" and usually are "special buys."
To keep costs low, Aldi says it cuts down on labor costs with its shopping-cart system in which a customer inserts a quarter to release a cart and receives a quarter back when returning it. That cuts back on sending workers to retrieve carts in the parking lot.
Customers also pay "a nominal charge" for paper, plastic or insulated bags, which encourages them to bring their own reusable bags.
It doesn't accept credit cards, but does accept debit cards and EBT cards as well as cash.
An Aldi is slightly larger than a Save-A-Lot.
Aldi's Central Florida distribution center is in Haines City, about 180 miles from Jacksonville.
Aldi enters a highly competitive food market in Northeast Florida, where Walmart, Publix and Winn-Dixie dominate. Harvey's, Save-A-Lot and Super Target also are among the area's largest chains, according to the Shelby Report of the Southeast trade publication.
Aldi joins Trader Joe's as potential new entries.
Aldi is No. 9 on the list of grocers in the Central Florida market, taking 1.1 percent of the market with its 34 stores in the area, Shelby reports.
Rowe's opening 5th store
Meanwhile, supermarket operator Rob Rowe plans to open his fifth Rowe's IGA Supermarket at 9 a.m. Saturday at 8299 W. Beaver St. at Bulls Bay Highway. It's in the Marietta Square shopping center.
Like three other Rowe's supermarkets, it's a former Food Lion store.
Rowe operates four Rowe's IGA Supermarkets in the area – at 5435 Blanding Blvd., in West Jacksonville; at 6765 Dunn Ave. in Northwest Jacksonville; at 8595 Beach Blvd. in South Jacksonville; and at 1670 Wells Road in Orange Park.
The Blanding store is a former Albertsons.
He launched his business with the 2005 acquisition of seven closed Albertsons stores, selling one site and opening six Rowe's Supermarkets. He sold five of those, kept one and then rebuilt from there.
Olive Garden renovating restaurants
Olive Garden Italian Restaurants appear to be in line for $200,000 renovations.
The city is reviewing plans for renovations for the 6050 Youngerman Circle restaurant, considered the Orange Park location, and the 10144 Philips Highway store, in The Avenues area.
While plans were not immediately found for the Regency area restaurant at 9465 Atlantic Blvd., Olive Garden responded that it is among the three being considered for remodeling in Jacksonville.
Tara Gray, manager of media and communications for Olive Garden at Darden Restaurants Inc., the Orlando-based parent company, sent a statement.
"We're currently validating a new remodel design featuring both interior and exterior transformations of select Olive Garden restaurants in various markets," it said.
"We plan to remodel these three Jacksonville restaurants; however we don't have a confirmed timetable at this stage," it said.
Gray said the company would share details when plans are confirmed.
The Regency, Orange Park and Avenues restaurants were built in 1990-91.
The fourth Olive Garden was built in 2009 in River City Marketplace in North Jacksonville at 13040 City Station Drive.
Plans under review show Darden Restaurants intends to extensively remodel the restaurants inside and out.
Inside, the work includes refurbishment of the bar, lobby and dining areas along with new wall finishes, carpet, ceiling materials, furniture, window coverings, cabinetry and lighting.
Outside, work includes painting and an exterior stone veneer at a new tower structure.
Seating will increase at the Orange Park restaurant from 284 to 316 and at the Avenues from 281 to 310.
No contractor was listed. The architect is HMD Group Architects of Doral.
Darden Restaurants owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House brands.
The company, which bills itself as the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate more than $8.5 billion in annual sales and employ more than 200,000 people.
Olive Garden plays a large role in the company.
Olive Garden, whose site is olivegarden.com, says there are more than 800 Olive Garden restaurants, generating more than $3.7 billion in annual sales with more than 95,000 employees.
The Huffington Post reported in March that "the beige, eggplant and forest green Olive Garden logo" would change in the wake of Darden cutting its profit outlook and wanting a corporate change.
It said Olive Garden revealed a redesign to a more modern, "less Old World" style. The menu will add lighter fare as well, it said.
The city issued sign permits for:
• Metro Diner in Roosevelt Square at 4495 Roosevelt Blvd., No. 408. Taylor Sign & Design Inc. is the contractor for two wall signs at a project cost of $18,264.
• Panera Bread at San Marco Station at 1440 Hendricks Ave. Taylor Sign & Design Inc. is the contractor for three wall signs at a project cost of $6,768.
• Dupont Café and Hookah Lounge in the former Beef 'O' Brady's at 3615 Dupont Ave., No. 100, in Dupont Station. Signsharks Sign Service Inc. is the contractor for a wall sign at a project cost of $2,200.
• Taste in the Tinseltown area at 9726 Touchton Road, No. 105. CNS Signs Inc. is the contractor for two wall signs at a project cost of $4,400.
• Jimmy John's at River City Marketplace, 510 Airport Center Drive, No. 106. CNS Signs Inc. is the contractor for the wall sign at a project cost of $2,400.
• Pho 99 at 5024 Blanding Blvd. Ad America is the contractor for the wall sign at a project cost of $1,500. Pho 99 Vietnamese Grill Inc. filed in July to incorporate in the state.
Subway OK'd in Arlington
The city approved renovations for Subway in the Publix-anchored shopping center in Arlington at 9100 Merrill Road. Gordon Hartley Construction Services LLC is the contractor for the build-out at a project cost of $120,000. Subway will lease Unit 2, taking 1,656 square feet of space.
Myre Asian Market files name
Kris Wilfred Howard and Myrna Bato Howard filed with the state in late August to operate Myre Asian Market at 11900 Atlantic Blvd., No. 204. That's the Walmart center at southwest Atlantic and Kernan boulevards.
Licensed to serve
Duval County Tax Collector issued a business license to:
• Mama Q's Pizza, 10550 Old St. Augustine Road, No. 6, to Nordic Joy Enterprises LLC.