MARIETTA — The building that once housed the Great A&P Co. grocery store is now in pieces.

Demolition began last week in the beginning of the effort to turn the empty building into a new 29,000-square-foot Lidl store on Whitlock Avenue in Marietta.

From the empty parking lot in front of the store, passersby can look through the windows to see the piles of rubble left behind by the work crews.

The property was purchased by Blanchard Real Estate for $1.85 million in October.

Residents have long complained of the empty store, and reaction on social media has been mostly positive.

But some local business owners located in a strip mall adjacent to the store said they have some concerns.

“One, it’s going to limit our parking, because that’s basically been a public parking lot for a decade … but the big thing is going to be the way the building is going to be oriented,” said David Sands, owner of Raven’s Nest Games. “Basically, I’m going to have zero visibility from the road, and it’s going to make our little strip mall here that’s been here for quite some time, we’re established local businesses, it’s going to throw us in a back alley behind the grocery store. That’s what I’m more concerned about.”

Sands’ neighbor, Seung Stinson, manager at OK Alterations, agreed.

“It’s going to be bad,” she said. “The building is going to be a blocker here. So the people can’t see us, the businesses. They can’t see the sign because it’s blocking it.”

The new store is expected to open by the end of 2020.

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