The green-and-white-striped awnings that, to many, signaled a Fresh Market opening in Bluffton could soon come down as a different grocery store's banners go up.
Aldi, a discount grocery chain based in Germany, appealed to the Beaufort County Design Review Board last Thursday for permission to make changes to the exterior of the building that anchors the shopping center at U.S. 278 and Burnt Church Road.
Beaufort County community development director Eric Greenway said the board was pleased with Aldi's proposal and approved it with a few minor changes.
Other stores in the shopping center are Hobby Lobby, PGA Superstore, First Watch and Aspen Dental.
The shopping center's developer, Jaz Development, had announced in March 2016 that Fresh Market, which has a location on Hilton Head Island, would be an anchor tenant, but the store itself never confirmed that.
This May, however, Fresh Market filed a lawsuit in Beaufort County against the developer, detailing the two parties' turbulent relationship.
Fresh Market's suit alleged that Jaz Development threatened to evict the store, claiming that Fresh Market had not been paying rent or fulfilling the conditions of its lease. For its part, Fresh Market said the developer had not been paying an agreed-upon tenant improvement allowance and asked that a judge declare the developer to be in default of the lease.
Neither Fresh Market nor attorneys for Jaz Development would comment on the suit at the time.
A message left at Jaz Development on Monday was not immediately returned.
In comes Aldi
Aldi's website says it has more than 1,600 stores across 35 states and offers a "no-frills" shopping experience to keep prices low.
Mount Pleasant is currently the closest Aldi store to Beaufort County.
The changes Aldi requested approval from the Design Review Board to make deal mainly with moving the location of the store's entrance, according to the new business section of the board's agenda.
The current doors would be removed and replaced with windows, and a new entrance would be constructed with a tower on the building's southeast corner.
The proposed tower would have a stucco facade in the shopping center's existing colors.
The green-and-white-striped fabric awnings that are currently on the building would be changed to a light gray color, and a 3- to 4-foot wall would be added to screen a shopping cart storage area.
The proposal says that, even though landscaping would be modified to account for the new entrance, the new plant totals and types are the same as previously approved.
A timetable for the store's opening was not available on Monday afternoon.