UPDATE: 9/17/2014 – As suggested in the second paragraph below, this afternoon the Birmingham Business Journal has confirmed the space Trader Joe’s will occupy is the current Banana Republic location.
Members of the “Bring Trader Joe’s to Birmingham” fan page on Facebook, rejoice! Trader Joe’s has announced their intention to open at The Summit during the second half of 2015, according to reports from AL.com and ABC 33/40 this morning. Both cite a release from the Monrovia, California-based company, notoriously tight-lipped about proposed locations until absolutely necessary, saying the 12,600 square foot store will be at 209 Summit Boulevard – the development’s southern portion.
The address suggests there will be other announcements in the coming days about new construction or the relocation and/or closing of stores (though the AL.com version of the story has been updated with the exact address being removed) as there is no vacancy currently in that portion of the lifestyle center.
A search of the city’s permitting database in late February and early March suggested a new project was coming to the popular lifestyle center. The location is more central to the metro area than people realize (and still within Birmingham’s city limits — as are the Nordstrom Rack and Target locations in Shelby County). The announcement also does not contradict a statement made back in 2011 — and comments made by the store’s founder at that time. The store’s size and announced location follow a trend first examined in 2011 by the Los Angeles Times — one seen as a way to capture more revenue. It will be the first full-service grocer at The Summit since Bruno’s closed in May 2009 following its parent company’s bankruptcy filing.
A representative for the chain informed the Birmingham Business Journal as recently as March that the market was not on the radar. This was shortly after an anonymous tip sent to this website led to attempts to reach out to both Trader Joe’s and Bayer Properties this spring. No response was received.
Huntsville was optimistic about its chances of landing a Trader Joe’s (as evidenced by this Reddit thread), but today’s announcement came with a statement similar to that one about Birmingham in 2011. It may only be a matter of time then, Rocket City…