CARBONDALE - Amidst fears of a retail migration away from the city's west side, plans for a new Aldi discount food store on the city's east side have been put on hold.
At their Tuesday night meeting, members of the city council tabled the matter after it was learned that the arrival of a new store at 1232 Main St. would coincide with the closure of the store's current west side location on Ramada Drive.
Council members and Mayor Brad Cole said they expected the west side location to stay open after the new store was constructed and that, under those circumstances, approval of the new store was likely.
But minds changed when Kelly Stedman of Woolpert Inc., Aldi's developer for the project, stepped forward and informed the council of Aldi's plans to close its current location.
"I was under the impression that the other store would be staying open," Cole said. "I've got to tell you that, in the last few minutes, my mind has changed. This is troublesome."
Citing the loss of the west side Kroger last fall, Councilwoman Mary Pohlmann outlined the thoughts of much of the council in relaying her concern about a dwindling retail presence on the west side.
"I have some real problems with that," she said. "Just looking at where all of our business is headed, it's toward the east side."
Councilman Joel Fritzler said the subtraction of one store and the addition of another would mean no increased benefit to the city's sales tax base and that he was not prepared to approve the new store.
Planning Services Manager Rob Keehn said the project met the requirements of city code, but members of the council have discretion in certain instances. One such instance is when the proposed project could prove to be a detriment.
Councilman Lance Jack said, that with just one grocery store left on the west side, the Neighborhood Co-op, this project fit that criteria.
Earlier Tuesday, Aldi spokeswoman Teresa Lindemann said the current Aldi would indeed be closing. Lindemann said she expected that current west side employees would be transferred to the new location.
The city council is set to reconsider the store at its Sept. 2 meeting.