Big grocer approved for Cambridge

Planning Commission gives nod to Cambridge Marketplace Phase II — Lidl grocery, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, new Taco Bell

CAMBRIDGE — Cambridge is one step closer to finally getting another big grocery store at the former Cambridge Plaza.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Cambridge Planning and Zoning Commission, plans for the soon-to-be Cambridge Marketplace Phase II were unanimously approved.

These plans include a new Lidl grocery store near the area where the Superfresh building currently sits vacant. Also approved were a new Taco Bell building, and plans for a Starbucks and Chick-fil-a near the current Bank of America and Taco Bell/KFC sites. The vision for Cambridge Marketplace is really coming together, as the Cambridge City Council approved plans for the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health facilities at the marketplace on Monday night. Construction of the Shore Health buildings is planned for a later phase.

Dorchester Banner/Courtesy of Fairchild Properties
This graphic rendering shows the concept for the 36,000-square-foot Lidl grocery store planned for Cambridge Marketplace. On Tuesday, the Cambridge Planning and Zoning Commission approved preliminary plans for Lidl, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and a new Taco Bell at the marketplace.

Lidl is a German-owned grocery store chain which is relatively new to the U.S. With stores in the Carolinas and Virginia, Lidl’s first store in Maryland is planned for Cambridge.

“I think it’s an excellent design, and I think it’s going to be a really nice addition, as with all the buildings,” said Pat Escher, city planner, minutes before the plans were approved. “I think it’s a very exciting time for Cambridge.”

Dorchester Banner/Courtesy of Fairchild Properties
On Tuesday night, the Cambridge Planning and Zoning Commission approved preliminary plans for a Chick-fil-a at Cambridge Marketplace.

Phase I at Cambridge Marketplace recently began with facade work on the building that formerly housed the Salvation Army store. The developer, Charlie Fairchild, of Fairchild Properties LLC, offered an update on what’s currently happening.

“We’re very excited. It’s been two years bringing this project to where we are now,” Mr. Fairchild said. “If you go over there, you’ll see the new facade going up. Next week or the following week, we start the demo (demolition). … In two weeks, we should start on the main entrance,” which includes fountains and a stone wall.

Jamie Wonderly, Lidl real estate development manager, introduced the grocery store to the planning commission.

“We’re very excited about Charlie and his great vision for Cambridge Marketplace,” Ms. Wonderly said. “Our store includes six store aisles which is typically smaller than the average U.S. grocer. So, this is really to enhance shopper experience with their time and efficiency.”

According to Brandon Hesson, associate director of Cambridge Economic Development, the Lidl building will be 36,000 square feet.

Lidl will feature a bakery with fresh breads, and croissants that are baked throughout the day. Lidl sells fresh and frozen produce, chicken, pork, beef, seafood, fresh flowers, packaged goods and household essentials. Ms. Wonderly said the store will also offer rotating stock for a limited time, including clothing, athletic accessories, home goods and toys.

“We’re very excited to be here in Cambridge,” Ms. Wonderly said.

Dorchester Banner/Courtesy of Fairchild Properties
The Cambridge Planning and Zoning approved preliminary plans for a newly built Taco Bell at Cambridge Marketplace.

While the preliminary phase II site plan was approved, there are still some details that need to be addressed, including landscaping. The footprint for the landscaping was approved, but the finer details will be included in the final site plan.

“If you look at the landscape plans, we have two that were done by a landscape architect and three that were done otherwise,” Ms. Escher said. “We want this site to be cohesive. They don’t necessarily have to have the exact same pallet, but they do have to have some coordination.”

There are also concerns about the width of the entryways into the new facilities. However, representatives from Lidl, Starbucks, Chick-fil-a and Taco Bell all attended the meeting, and agreed to work with the city planning and zoning office to alleviate all concerns before seeking final site plan approval.

The city council chambers were near capacity Tuesday night. When the planning commission approved Cambridge Marketplace Phase II, the gathering erupted in applause.

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