A long-anticipated German grocer's entry into Newport News' burgeoning grocery store market is now official.
Area commercial brokers recently closed on two Newport News sites — a 4.39-acre parcel at 11076 Warwick Blvd., and a 5.6-acre site at 11852 Jefferson Ave. — to bring German grocer Lidl to the area.
Lidl is an international discount grocery chain that is expanding quickly across the U.S. and Virginia.
The firm is establishing its U.S. headquarters in Arlington and a distribution center facility in Spotsylvania County.
Tom Waltz, a partner with Newport News-based Campana Waltz Commercial Real Estate, confirmed Monday that the former 4.39-acre parcel on the former Bowditch car lot on Warwick Boulevard was purchased by Lidl on Feb. 23 for $1.9 million.
Officials with Cushman & Wakefield/Thalhimer also sold a 5.6-acre parcel along Jefferson Avenue, which was owned by John R. Lawson II — a regional contractor and president and CEO of Newport News-based W.M. Jordan — to Lidl for $2 million.
Hampton has approved Lidl's plans to open a store on Mercury Boulevard near Interstate 64, where the Hampton Bay Plaza and Suites now sits. Lidl purchased that property in December, city records show, for $3.4 million.
Waltz said the Lidl deal was a long time coming but will help spur redevelopment along Warwick Boulevard.
"From the day we placed it under contract to the day we closed on the property took 14 months," said Waltz, who represented Bowditch during the recent Lidl transaction. "I think it worked out good for the seller."
The future Lidl, which could break ground in the next 30 to 45 days, will anchor a very visible redevelopment effort to transform the former longtime car dealership property into a viable retail services district along Warwick Boulevard.
"Newport News is about 97 percent developed," Waltz said. "So trying to find a 4-acre site commands finding a site for a redevelopment project."
Located near the Warwick Boulevard and Harpersville Road intersection in western Newport News, Waltz expects the store to draw from a strong customer base in the surrounding area.
"There's a great demographic base at this location," Waltz said while referencing the Hilton Village and future development of the Camp Morrison property nearby that could include thousands of new housing units in the coming years.
And more growth is slated for the Bowditch property.
Waltz said a 1.23-acre reconfigured parcel at 11072 and 11060 Warwick Boulevard is under contract. A 7-Eleven gas station and convenience store is planned to occupy the property along the southern half of the Bowditch property, where the parking lot is located.
A 0.51-acre parcel, bounded by Warwick Boulevard and Old Harpersville Road, remains for sale — although Waltz said interest is growing at the location.
"We're working on it," Waltz said, while careful not to disclose any information about potential buyers.
As the German grocery store chain continues to expand its physical footprint nationally, it might not be done with the Peninsula.
Another Lidl store could be in the works in the greater Peninsula area, although Waltz did not disclose too many details about the pending transaction.
"We have another site under contract on the Peninsula," Waltz said. "But that's all I can say at this time."
O'Neal can be reached by phone at 757-247-4744.