Aldi is officially coming to New Tampa.

The petition to re-zone the property of the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. was unanimously approved earlier today by the Tampa City Council on the second reading.

The city’s Development Review & Compliance staff had already found the petition, which requests to be reclassified from a PD-A (Planned Development, Alternative restaurant) to PD (Planned Development, retail sales, shopper’s goods), to be consistent with applicable City of Tampa land regulations.

The proposed Aldi store, which will be located at the corner of BBD and Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. in front of the AMC movie theater, will be 19,160 square feet — almost four times the size of Ruby Tuesday — with 106 parking spaces.

Leon Capital Group, the owners who purchased the 2.36-acre lot for $2.82 million in 2018, were represented at the first reading on Jan. 16 by Scott Stannard of Commercial Site Solutions.

Stannard said the plans include not only replacing the vacant restaurant, but enhancing the surrounding area.

“We feel it’s an improvement, actually,” Stannard told the council members. “We’ve had arborists go out and we’re going to be taking down some of the dead trees and replacing them with new landscaping and beefing that up. It will be a nice fit for what’s out there.”

Stannard also said as that, as part of the new development, a sidewalk will be built on Highwood Preserve Pkwy., to aid pedestrians who are shopping, as well as those using the bus stop at the same corner.

“It’s really surprising there’s not one there already,” Stannard said.

Aldi, a German discount grocer, will be the third supermarket to open along a less-than-one-mile stretch of the west side of BBD. It would join a Publix at the corner of BBD and New Tampa Blvd. and Sprouts Farmers Market, which will be open by this summer in the new Village at Hunter’s Lake development across from the entrance to the Hunter’s Green community.

While Publix is the largest of the three and Sprouts is a “green” grocer, Aldi is a hugely popular German discount chain that carries brands that many shoppers here in the U.S. may not recognize, including their own. More than 90 percent of the brands Aldi carries are exclusive brands.

One unique aspect of Aldi is the quarter charge to rent a shopping cart at the store, to prevent stray carts from being left in the parking lot where they can dent cars.

Users get their quarter back when they return the cart.

Another Aldi is just weeks away from opening on S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel, right in front of the Costco.

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