Grocery store competition heats up in Richmond
The announcements are starting to feel like falling leaves. They just keep on coming. With expansions by Walmart, Martin’s, Kroger and new stores on the way from Wegmans and Aldi, the grocery-store sector is bringing thousands of new square feet of retail space to the market, particularly in Chesterfield County.
Along a two-mile stretch of Midlothian Turnpike, between Courthouse Road and state Route 288, three major players will soon be vying for customers. Site work has begun on a Wegmans, a new and much-anticipated player in the market. The company plans to start construction on a 130,0000-square-foot store in the Stonehenge Village Shopping Center early next year. (A second store is planned for West Broad Marketplace, a new retail development in the Short Pump area of western Henrico County.)
Earlier this month, just down the road on Midlothian Turnpike, Martin’s Food Markets opened a new 74,000-square-foot store at Charter Colony Parkway.
With the competition heating up at its front door, Kroger recently announced that it’s expanding its 87,700-square-foot store in the Ivymont Square Shopping Center — just a short distance from the new Martin’s — by 20,000 more feet. Work is supposed to start early next year.
These grocery-anchored tenants located in retail shopping centers are prompting other tenants to move or take new space in what is a domino effect, say commercial real estate brokers.
Sometimes, the stores are the first tenants in a new project. For instance, a Walmart Neighborhood Market will be the first tenant at Watermark Town Center, a 400-acre, mixed-use project off Iron Bridge Road in Chesterfield. According to Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, the exclusive broker for Walmart and its developer, plans call for construction of a 41,000-square-foot retail store, a drive-thru pharmacy and fuel center.
Walmart has been expanding its smaller grocery-store footprint throughout Virginia in multiple locations. It is building three stores in the Richmond area: at 5221 Brook Road in Henrico County, Meadowbrook Plaza in Chesterfield and Sliding Hill Road and Charter Hill Court in Hanover County. Three smaller stores are also coming to Roanoke, and two are scheduled for construction in Lynchburg.
Another new player, Germany-based Aldi, is coming to the Hanover Village Shopping Center in Mechanicsville. Aldi, which also plans multiple locations in Richmond, will open a 15,750-square-foot store in spring 2015.
Aldi is a discount grocer. Another player in this sector, Super Dollar Discount Foods, recently signed a lease for a store in Richmond, according to Divaris Real Estate Inc. The company is taking 20,000-square-feet in the Divaris-leased Salvage Barn Shopping Center at 5240 Hull Street Road in Richmond.