Aldi is planning a store for New Tampa

The discount grocer filed plans with the city to take over a shuttered Ruby Tuesday location.
The Aldi store located on 1551 34th St N, St. Petersburg in 2018.
The Aldi store located on 1551 34th St N, St. Petersburg in 2018. [ JONES, OCTAVIO | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Sept. 3, 2019|Updated Sept. 3, 2019

TAMPA — Aldi, the popular discount grocer, has filed plans with the city to build a new store near the intersection of Highwoods Preserve Parkway and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

The property at 17520 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. is a former Ruby Tuesday restaurant that closed last year. Aldi is asking the city to approve plans to turn the property into a food retailer, which would need to happen before any construction could begin.

The plans call for a 20,400-square-foot store that sits near an existing AMC theater, according to applications filed on Aug. 28.

“We are excited to continue expanding our presence in Tampa,” Aldi said in a written statement. "However, at this time, we do not have any information to share about a potential ALDI store opening on Bruce B Downs Blvd. "

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Aldi has touted its aggressive expansion plans over the past few years with a focus on the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, California — and Florida. The chain plans to have 2,500 locations by the end of 2022. It already has about 20 locations in the Tampa Bay area.

In 2018, 40 Florida locations had been renovated with plans for 1,300 total to have the store’s no-frills, sleek look by the end of 2020.

The brand has grown a loyal following that doesn’t mind having to use a quarter to retrieve a cart or bagging their own groceries.

Tampa’s most northern neighborhoods are already eagerly awaiting a new Sprouts Farmers Market that is slated to open at Bruce B. Downs and Hunter’s Green Drive.

READ MORE: Will it be Sprouts or Lucky’s that comes out on top in Florida?

Sprouts has concentrated its efforts on Florida, too, with plans to open several new stores in the Sunshine State, bringing its total to 15.

While Sprouts focuses more on health and wellness than Aldi, both stores are smaller and have a more streamlined selection than a typical supermarket.

Aldi, however, has grander plans. The German chain says it plans to be the third-largest U.S. grocer behind Walmart and Kroger.