Lidl announcement boosts Arlington, Spotsylvania
Arlington officials say landing the U.S. headquarters of Lidl, a Germany-based discount supermarket chain, will help diversify the county’s economy.
One of the largest retailers in the world, Lidl operates nearly 10,000 stores in 26 European countries. It expects to begin opening stores in the U.S. in 2018.
The company will invest $202 million in operations in Virginia. The total includes $77 million for the Arlington headquarters, where it will create 500 jobs, and $125 million for a regional headquarters and distribution center in Spotsylvania County, where it will employ 200 people.
Arlington competed against North Carolina during the selection process. The win represents “a real opportunity to have the headquarters of a global company that is growing, has ambitious plans and is reputable,” says Christina Winn, director of the business investment group for Arlington Economic Development. “We look at Arlington as the perfect place to debut their operations.”
Lidl said three factors contributed to its decision to choose Arlington: the county’s young, educated workforce; the area’s regional transit options; and access to a major airport, Reagan National.
While Arlington continues to record one of the lowest unemployment rates in Virginia, federal budget cuts have affected the local economy.
“As we are continuing to diversify our economy, this was a perfect piece, a corporate headquarters that helps with our resiliency and sustainability and signals Arlington’s business-friendly orientation to companies all over the world,” Winn says.
Chris Yakabouski, chairman of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors, says Lidl also will give his county a big boost. “This $80 billion organization will build the largest industrial structure in the Spotsylvania community,” he says.
Lidl’s U.S. president and CEO, Brendan Proctor, says the company will introduce U.S. shoppers to a different type of retail experience. “Our philosophy is simple: We are focused on offering customers top-quality products at the most competitive pricing in convenient locations,” he said in a statement to the press.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the two counties to secure the project. State incentives included $5 million in grants from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund and $2 million from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant program. The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors in July approved a $9.7 million incentive package for Lidl. The incentives include an up-front payment of $1.4 million from the county.