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Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:22pm

Georgia Losing 29 Food Lions

A Danish-based supermarket chain is closing 29 Georgia Food Lion stores.

The decision means about 1,000 people will lose their jobs.

Savannah officials worked for years to bring one store to a blighted corridor.

City officials last year lured Food Lion to Martin Luther King-Junior Boulevard with tax incentives and grants.

The area didn't have a supermarket before and soon will have another empty storefront.

Paul Featheringill of Savannah Development and Renewal Authority says, Food Lion was part of a plan to boost business and nutrition.

"It's disappointing, obviously," Featheringill says. "That's a project that lots of people worked on for a really long time and was obviously was something that was needed."

Featheringill says, several neighborhoods rely on the Food Lion on MLK as one of the only full scale grocery stores in the vicinity.

"The development of that area has been a priority for the city and for SDRA for a number of years now so it's not a good thing but we look at it as an opportunity."

The SDRA kicked in money for property improvements, and Savannah officials promise to lure another market to the location.

Savannah City Council member Van Johnson says, there is a positive side to the closures.

"The silver lining in this is that we have a brand new state of the art building that is not even a year old, that is sizable, that's in a great location," Johnson says. "It has great parking and it has a densely populated neighborhood in the immediate vicinity that is ready to utilize it.

An official with Food Lion's corporate parent Delhaize says, the chain intends to focus on larger cities.

Macon, Carrolton and Waycross are among communities losing their Food Lions.