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National grocer, fitness center could move into Northland Plaza

December 18, 2018

DeKALB – City officials are recommending approval of a national grocer and a fitness facility to move into the Northland Plaza Shopping Center, but have not yet disclosed the names of the businesses.

The shopping center owner is hoping to expand the type of retail and nonretail allowed in the space along Sycamore Road and Barber Greene Road in DeKalb, with a public hearing set for Wednesday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

Sarah Burns, who works for Weber Shandwick, a public relations firm representing Aldi, told the Daily Chronicle in an email that Aldi, currently at 2569 Sycamore Road, plans to open a new location in the DeKalb area in mid-2019.

The fitness center would move into the northern end of the plaza, requiring the city to modify the types of non-retail space allowed in the shopping center. The city’s positive recommendation indicates nonretail uses are imperative for the sustainability of the plaza, because of declining consumer interest in brick-and-mortar stores.

Additionally, the applicant will request an ordinance amendment to modify the sign regulations in front of the plaza. The application said the current limited visibility of the tenants in Northland Plaza has had an impact on ability to draw patrons to the stores, or attract additional tenants.

The applicant is proposing to add an additional pylon sign along Sycamore Road at the north entrance, next to Egg Haven and Panera Bread. The requested sign will be 41 feet high and 290 square feet, with seven panels for tenants.

Northland Plaza is 49 percent occupied at the moment, and city staff say the additional grocer and fitness center will positively impact the economic development of the site.

If the application gains a positive recommendation by the zoning commission Wednesday, vote for approval by city council will not occur until 2019, since the final council meeting of the year is tonight.

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