The site search started nearly one year ago, with word making itto the street in April that land in Denton was under contract. Inclearing the last cliff-hanging hurdle for the off-market deal toclose, ALDI paid $3.96 million to Dallas-based Stratford Group forthe deed to 1517 Centre Place Dr., which is situated close to theInterstate 35 North and I-35W junction.

"Once we have the permits, we'll start," says Tom Smolik,principal of Dallas-based TIG Real Estate Services Inc. Heestimates it will be 12 to 18 months before ALDI's firstdistribution center in the Southwest is completed. The delivery isbeing timed to coincide with major improvements to Airport Road, afeeder for the airport and an emerging industrial park, thanks toALDI's final nod to the deal.

Smolik tells that about 120 acres of the site aredevelopable, building in ample expansion room for the grocer.According to published accounts, ALDI is planning 35 stores inTexas. It already has 13 operating in Oklahoma. A team fromDallas-based United Commercial Realty/ChainLinks is manning theretail site searches. "When they get all their stores up andrunning, they'll still have room for expansion," Smolik says.

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