Lidl backs out of property purchase and grocery store in Austint - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Lidl backs out of property purchase and grocery store in Austintown

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AUSTINTOWN TWP., Ohio -

Just days before the paperwork was set to be signed, a German discount supermarket chain has decided not to purchase property in Austintown as a site for their new grocery store. 

It's a move that caught Austintown trustee Jim Davis off guard.

"We have not heard anything from them and the communications that we last had with them was that it was to move forward. So it's very disheartening," said Davis.

Lidl was in the process of buying the property at the corner of Mahoning Avenue and Wilcox Road where the Pink Elephant stood for the past 50 years. 

Ground was to be broke on a new grocery store in 2018. 

"We were in the planning stages with them with our zoning office. We were ready to move forward with replatting the property for them so that they could open and get ready for the groundbreaking," said Davis.

But on November 7th, Lidl notified Bryan Ridder, the attorney for the estate that had a purchase contract with the company, to say they were terminating the contract and would not be going forward with the acquisition.

Ridder told 21 News via email, "It is our position that Lidl's action is a breach of the purchase contract and we expect to pursue legal remedies to enforce the contract."

"Hope the politicians of the area hold Lidl's feet to the fire and the commitment they made," said Jim Agler. 

Jim Agler and his wife Tammy were managing partners of the Pink Elephant. When the agreement was made for Lidl to purchase the property, Jim and Tammy decided to move and open up their own bar called The Thirsty Frog. 

With the news that Lidl is pulling out of the deal, Jim says it is extremely disappointing.  "We hated to see the pink elephant go. We would have definitely stayed or made arrangements or worked something else out to going back to purchase it outright again," said Agler.

While Davis calls it a big loss for the township, he's still hopeful for the property.

"We've got a lot of great projects going on surrounding that area between Rulli Brothers potentially moving in to that area, that's been rumored now for almost a year, but we've got Meijer's that's moving in and of course we've got St. Elizabeth across the street and potentially even a YMCA. So there is a lot happening in that area that would spike an interest," said Davis.

We reached out to Lidl and spokesman Will Harwood released this statement:

"We have secured a number of sites in the state for future growth. However, we are not addressing each individual one at this very early stage. As we have previously stated, we are laser focused on our current operational markets along the east coast, where we are currently expanding and opening stores."

Lidl was also making plans to open a grocery store in Howland.
 

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