Fairfield leaders hope the new Aldi spurs growth in this neighborhood

Grocery discount chain Aldi is opening its first location in Fairfield on Thursday. The new 22,000-square-foot store at 5065 Pleasant Ave. provides another grocery option in the downtown area of Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Grocery discount chain Aldi is opening its first location in Fairfield on Thursday. The new 22,000-square-foot store at 5065 Pleasant Ave. provides another grocery option in the downtown area of Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A new Aldi opening Thursday is “a positive sign” for Fairfield in efforts to attract new developments and inject energy into the city’s Second Ward, officials said.

"The fact that we're getting attention from national companies like Aldi or like (recently City Council-approved) Chick-fil-A, it helps spur other development surrounding those types of projects," said Greg Kathman, the city's Development Services director. "Other people believe if those national companies think this a good market, then they'll think this is a good market, as well."

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Aldi will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at its new 22,000-square-foot Pleasant Avenue store, and the first 100 customers will receive a gift card and a complimentary eco-friendly bag. They’ll also be able to sample Aldi-brand foods and enter to win a year’s supply of Aldi produce.

The store has the brand’s modern design and will be the fourth in Butler County. Other locations include West Chester Twp., Middletown and Hamilton. The chain is investing $3.4 billion for an additional 650 new locations across the United States by the end of 2022.

While this is the first Aldi in Fairfield, it’s the city’s fourth grocery store — it already has Kroger, Jungle Jim’s International Market and Meijer — Mayor Steve Miller said it will fill a niche after the city lost Marsh, which sat on the current Aldi site before its demolition.

“There’s a lot of people on that side of town that missed a grocery store that was closer to home and easier to get in and out,” said Miller.

The mayor also hopes Aldi will be the spark needed reviltalization to Patterson Place shopping center, and that area of the city's Second Ward. Aldi is opening next to a vacant structure that once was home to Planet Fitness, which moved to Ohio 4 last year. Miller hopes the grocery store will draw interest to that vacant building and reignite interest in building senior patio homes that halted.

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"The more people we can get down there, the better chance we can get attracting businesses," he said. "And if we can get those senior patio homes built, you get more people down there, more traffic and start creating the density you need."

Kathman said within a few years he would not be surprised to see “some movement” on that property owned by Neyer Property. What form that “movement” takes, Kathman said, “is to be determined.” But Kathman said he and Neyer Property officials believe “once Aldi gets open and other potential tenants in that space see how popular that is, we expect that interest will only rise from there.”

Kathman said Aldi is opening across the street from the popular Lindenwald Station, a diner that moved from Hamilton to Fairfield's Riegert Square in early 2018.

“Those two projects opening up in a pretty close time frame has really provided a nice jolt of energy for that area,” Kathman said.

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