On February 23. 2016 Wilson Borough Council gave a Germany-based company the OK to expand and help make the U.S. the 27th country with one of its stores.
Borough council on Monday night gave unanimous conditional use approval to Lidl US LLC to build a 36,000-square-feet store at 1120 S. 25th St. on the corner of Freemansburg Avenue.
Lidl development manager Michael McGrath told council that the popular chain, which has 10,000 stores in 26 countries across Europe, would like to build a new store in the borough.
McGrath said the store with sell popular U.S brands but also import items sold from its current locations.
“We’d like to introduce American consumers to international products,” McGrath said.
The location is the former Victor Balata belting company, across 25th Street from Aldi, one of Lidl’s biggest European rivals.
There are two buildings and a water tower on the site that will have to be demolished before new construction begins.
Residents raised concerns about several issues, including potential construction debris and store garbage making its way into neighboring homes. They also asked about increased truck traffic in the area.
“Our typical (European) model is one truck per day,” McGrath said. “We’re trying to achieve that same model here.”
McGrath said he anticipates 30 to 35 employees at the Wilson store. Lidl representatives also have submitted plans for another store at 2845 MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township and have plans for numerous stores in the U.S.
The chain announced last June it would build its regional headquarters and distribution facility in Virginia.
“It’s a benefit to us because it’s a useful, taxpaying, good member of the community,” Wilson Councilman Louis Starniri said.
Lidl still needs land development approval from the borough and approvals from the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for planned improvements on 25th Street and Freemansburg Avenue.
No construction timeline has been finalized, according to McGrath.