LOWER PROVIDENCE — As anyone who has driven by lately knows, the familiar “Burger King corner” where Trooper Road meets Ridge Pike is going through a major transformation.
Across the road from the West Norriton fast food icon that’s dominated the intersection for more than 50 years, construction is now underway to bring German grocer Lidl to Lower Providence, an event that many had thought might never happen after the international retailer announced plans to cut back on expansion plans.
“Lidl received land development approval from the township quite a while ago, and then it was quiet there for a while,” noted Township Manager Don Delamater. “Reports had surfaced that Lidl was looking to pare back on the amount of openings in the area they were planning, and there was a lot of speculation that this was one of those sites. But we always received confirmation from Lidl that this was not one of the sites they were paring back, that they were moving forward with it. They just needed to get various approvals from PennDOT and approvals from DEP as part of the whole process before anyone would see any construction or demolition there. They’ve gotten all those approvals and should be moving forward this year with building a new supermarket.”
Most recently the site was the home of Sunoco gas station and convenience store, and for decades before that had been home of Norristown Ford dealership.
Lidl’s development plan had received recommendation for approval from the Township Planning Commission back in September, 2017. It was determined that four lots would be consolidated into two parcels and the site’s existing buildings, including the gas station, would be demolished. A new building would be constructed according to a prototype the retailer has designed specifically for the U.S. market. Lidl had planned to subdivide a parcel on the western side of the property.
“We’re very pleased that the work has started and by the end of this year there should be a nice new supermarket opened up,” Delamater said. “As the gateway to the township they’re really going to clean up that area and put up a ‘Welcome to Lower Providence sign on the corner.”
Across Ridge Pike, the southwest corner long occupied by gas stations over the years will soon house a Dunkin Donuts, Delamater said.
“They’re going to do some significant improvements at that intersection, with a left turn from Ridge onto Trooper Road, as well as a deeper left turn lane from Trooper Road onto Ridge Pike (Main Street). They need to facilitate the left turn movements, because that’s where the problem comes in, where the left turns don’t have arrows. So they’re upgrading all those traffic signals.”
The signal will coordinate action with the traffic signal further up the road at Park Avenue and Ridge Pike, he added.
“They will link together so they can communicate and work together to keep traffic moving in a more efficient manner.”
With German competitor Aldi well established across town at the Valley Forge Marketplace, Lidl’s arrival could create an embarrassment of riches for frugal-minded shoppers in the area.
A press release reported that Lidl stores have been proven to drive down prices for shoppers in areas where they open new stores. Earlier this year, a study from the University of North Carolina found that retailers in the immediate vicinity of Lidl stores dropped prices on individual products by as much as 55 percent on average in areas where Lidl operates.
Lidl operates about 10,500 stores in 29 countries, offering customers award- winning products such as produce, meat, bakery items and a wide array of household items at discounted prices. Lidl established its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County, Va., in June 2015, and currently has more than 50 stores across seven east coast states.
For more information, visit www.Lidl.com.