The former Valley Bowl on Pershing Drive could be reborn as an Aldi supermarket and a Panera Bread, Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri said Tuesday.
The mayor’s comments came after the Derby Planning and Zoning Commission formally accepted development plans from the property’s owner, Pershing Partners, LLC.
See the video for more comments from the mayor.
State records show the principal in Pershing Partners is Jerry Nocerino, of Nocerino Construction in New Haven.
Accepting the plans is the first step in the Planning and Zoning Commission’s review, so it’s too early to talk about when construction could begin — assuming it wins necessary approvals.
A detailed review could kickoff March 26.
The plans submitted did not name the tenants, but Staffieri told the Valley Indy Panera and Aldi are definite.
He said two other leases are being finalized at the location. One is a bank, Staffieri said.
The Panera Bread would include drive-thru service, according to the mayor. The popular cafe has started rolling our drive-thru windows at new locations for about a year. A Wethersfield location opened with a drive-thru in April.
Panera Bread Co. is based in St. Louis. It has a cafe on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton, about 6 miles from Pershing Drive. The Derby cafe would be one of hundreds of restaurants the chain hopes to open in 2013.
The company just reported a 34 percent increase in profit in the fourth quarter compared to last year.
A message seeking comment from Panera Bread was e-mailed to the company Wednesday morning.
Aldi is a discount grocery store with more than 1,000 locations in 31 states.
The German-based company is usually described as “no frills” in media reports. Customers rent carts for 25 cents and prices are usually less expensive than other grocery stores.
Aldi spokespeople told the Valley Indy several times in 2012 they didn’t have firm plans to open in Derby. They didn’t respond to another inquiry placed in December.
Gabby Brewer, a spokeswoman for the company, sent the Valley Indy an e-mail Thursday saying the company has “no defined plans for a store at this time.”
“Thank you for your inquiry about a possible ALDI in Derby, CT. As we’ve shared with you previously, we feel Derby is a viable market for ALDI; however, there are no defined plans for a store at this time,” Brewer said in an e-mail. “If that changes and plans develop for an ALDI in Derby, we will certainly update you.”
The Valley Bowl, a staple of family entertainment for decades, went out of business in July 2010. It was demolished in July 2012 — much to the dismay of the men who once bowled there and were hired to bring the building down.
The Valley Bowl redevelopment dovetails with the redevelopment of Red Raider Plaza next door on Pershing Drive. Formerly home to Xpect Discounts, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved a plan last March that will see the shopping center reconfigured and redeveloped.
A Walgreen’s Pharmacy will be among the new stores. Walgreen’s owns the property.
A lawsuit over traffic flow within the shopping center filed by the owners of the ShopRite Plaza across the street was resolved in November. It’s unclear when the Walgreen’s redevelopment project will kick off.
“It’s awesome,” Staffieri said of the Panera Bread/Aldi’s development. “And then with the other project right next door (in Red Raider Plaza), that whole shopping center is going to be reconfigured.”