It’s been two years since it was announced that Aldi would be part of a mixed-use project, now called Rex 26, in Minneapolis. Now, Aldi has confirmed the store will open in the late spring of 2019.
In addition to Aldi, the mixed-use project at 26th Street and Lyndale Avenue S. will include 86 apartments in a five-story building. The name comes from the Rex Hardware store that used to be at that spot.
Aldi will have 21,000 square feet on the first floor of the building, more space than its older Twin Cities stores. It will be one of the few Aldi locations anywhere to have underground parking, said Matt Lilla, vice president for Aldi’s Faribault division.
Also different for this Aldi: shopping baskets. Though standard at most grocery stores, Aldi has shied away from them after having problems in other parts of the country with baskets being taken. In its Minnesota stores, Aldi shoppers either had to bring shopping bags or put a quarter deposit in a shopping cart, which is returnable when the cart is returned. Aldi uses the system to reduce the time it takes workers to bring carts in from the parking lot.
“Aldi is presenting a value option to the neighborhood not available with the other supermarket retailers,” said project developer Don Gerberding of Master Properties Minnesota. “Most of the options are premium offerings — the Wedge, Kowalski’s, Lunds & Byerlys and Cub.”
Aldi currently has 58 stores in Minnesota, with more stores opening this year in Eagan, Princeton, Virginia and Marshall. Stores expected to open in the first half of 2019 include Cloquet, Chaska, Chanhassen and Lakeville. Minnesota will have more than 70 Aldi’s by the end of 2019, including at least two St. Paul locations, Lilla said.
In 2017, the company announced a $5 billion expansion and remodeling of U.S. stores, including remodeling 35 existing stores in Minnesota through 2020 at a cost of $34 million. Around 10 are finished, with seven more to be completed by the end of this year.
Adding a supermarket in mixed-use projects is growing in popularity. In the Twin Cities, Fresh Thyme built stores in mixed-use complexes in Minneapolis’ Prospect Park neighborhood and St. Louis Park.
Cub Foods next year will open its first urban concept store at 46th and Hiawatha. Trader Joe’s is scheduled to open a new store on Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis this summer. Aldi’s Chanhassen store will also be in a mixed-use project.