An announcement is expected within two weeks informing residents who the mystery grocery chain is, it has been revealed.
The news came at a preview of Discovery Park’s public consultation exhibition, ahead of the display at the Guildhall in Sandwich today.
Discovery Park in east Kent
Discovery Park managing director Paul Barber said a supermarket or retail venture is “near imperative” financially to help them find the £5 million needed to revamp what was known as Building 500, one of key scientific centres when the site was run by Pfizer.
The park aims to make it fit for continued use by big companies.
Mr Barber said: “We are at the legal stage with them [the supermarket] now.
“Because Discovery Park is expensive to run, we do need to bring in other uses to the site that are going to be able to contribute financially to the overall success.
“That’s one of the reasons we want to bring a supermarket which will contribute to the vitality of the site.”
Discovery Park Ltd is at the outline planning stage for works to the whole site.
They submitted plans for the supermarket in September and hope to submit plans for the rest of the site in mid-November.
Mr Barber said he hopes to have approval for the food store in December to January and permission for the rest of the works by March or April.
“Because Discovery Park is expensive to run, we do need to bring in other uses to the site that are going to be able to contribute financially to the overall success..." - Discovery Park MD Paul Barber
The shop, intended to plug the gap between Whitfield and Thanet, will be on the corner of the A256 and Monk’s Way, where it is highly visible and easily accessible to traffic on the main road and from the toll bridge over the Stour.
There will be a petrol station too - run by the supermarket.
Mr Barber added: “We are lucky because the road network is designed and built recently when Pfizer employed 6,500 people.
“Now we only have 1,300 people and are aiming for 3,000 by 2017 so we know the roads can cope.”
The consultation details the Discovery Park Ltd’s overall plans for the site.
These include retail space, an office and lab core, and an energy and industrial site run by Estover, for which a planning application is lodged with the district council.
There are also plans for plenty of housing to entice young scientists and families to the site to work and live.
For more details visit www.discovery-park.co.uk