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VOL. 133 | NO. 28 | Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Trader Joe’s Seeking First Official Approval from Germantown

By Patrick Lantrip

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The saga of Trader Joe’s in Germantown has had more than its fair share of ups and downs over the last several years, but those all appear to be in the rear view mirror, as the first tangible plans listing the highly sought-after grocer have surfaced.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, a Germantown Design Review Commission subcommittee will review Trader Joe’s application for its location in the Germantown Collection shopping center.

Though previous plans for the 2130 Exeter Road site have been reviewed and approved by various planning boards in Germantown, this is the first time that Trader Joe’s has been listed as the tenant.

(Broadway National)

Trader Joe’s is requesting approval of a sign package that includes two wall signs and one sign blade on the Germantown Collection Shopping Center ground-mounted sign. The company hopes to receive an exception in size and color from existing standards for the ground-mounted directory sign.

Additionally, Trader Joe’s is seeking a variance to exceed the total allowable sign area for the wall signs. Though the total allowable sign area is 75 square feet, Trader Joe’s is proposing a 99.94-square-foot wall sign area. The Design Review Commission has the option to grant up to a 100-square-foot sign package.

The original ground-mounted sign package for Germantown Collection Shopping Center was approved by the DRC in April 1987, with the current iteration winning approval in August 2015. Don Strack, director of construction at Trader Joe’s, was listed as the applicant for the sign package.

The first hint that the on-again-off-again project was finally coming to fruition was a $750,000 building permit application citing “tenant buildout” for Trader Joe’s that was filed with the Shelby County Office of Construction Code Enforcement on Jan. 26.

The future of Trader Joe’s in the Memphis area became uncertain in May of 2017 when Centennial American Properties, the previous developers of the planned Trader Joe’s location, told The Daily News they were pulling out of the project.

Several months later, Savannah, Georgia-based Wicker Park Capital Management, doing business as 2130 Exeter Road Holdings, took over the project. On Nov. 7, 2017, its revised site plan was approved by the Germantown Planning Commission. But no tenant was named in those revised plans, and representatives with the development team declined to discuss whether Trader Joe’s was still involved with the project.

In December, Wicker Park purchased the parcel of land outright from previous owner, Robert H. Schwab, for $8.1 million.

The saga of Trader Joe’s goes all the way back to 2015 when representatives with the retailer announced they would be opening a 12,500-square-foot store in Germantown that was originally scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2016.

The project was seemingly on pace in March of 2016 when Centennial American Properties filed a $3.5 million building permit application. However, a short time later in June, a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman said the project would be pushed back to the first half of 2017 as a result of construction delays.

Six months later Centennial American filed another building permit application, this time for $2.5 million, but a spokesperson with Trader Joe’s confirmed to The Daily News that the project would be pushed back again until sometime in 2018.

In January of 2017, Centennial American properties amended the project by moving the planned Trader Joe’s location from a 19,500-square-foot outparcel to the main building that once housed a Kroger store, which is where Trader Joe’s is currently slated to reside.

PROPERTY SALES 83 405 4,276
MORTGAGES 104 424 4,814
BUILDING PERMITS 148 883 10,151
BANKRUPTCIES 53 264 3,149