Stow — Shoppers will very likely have to wait more than a year before they will be able to enter the doors of a planned Meijer department and grocery store at the Stow-Kent Shopping Center.
Things are progressing nicely, said Rob Risman, a principal in plaza owner Stow Kent Associates LLC, on Sept. 9. It just takes longer than you might think.
Theres really not a lot to share, said Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi, also on Sept. 9. Its still very early in the process, but we are definitely interested in that site.
Ive spoken with the plaza owners as recently as last week, Mayor Sara Drew said Sept. 10.
Theyre still moving forward with the Meijer store, she said. We have also received updated engineering and plans regarding the site.
Both the citys planning commission and City Council approved a site plan last November for a 193,000-square-foot Meijer store at the plazas rear, as well as a 10-pump service station with a 2,500-square-foot convenience store in front, by Route 59, on the site of a Wendys restaurant that would be demolished.
Also approved was a conditional zoning certificate, which is required for gas stations and department stores with outside storage areas, including the Meijer stores planned garden center, in a C-4 general business district.
Guglielmi said the store would be about the size of a typical Meijer super store, which has between 250 and 300 full- and part-time employees. Meijer Real Estate Manager Cris Jones told the planning commission last November that Meijer employees are unionized.
The approvals came after a previous plan to convert the plaza into a mixed-use site, with retail in front and a 152-unit apartment and townhouse development north of the plaza, was dropped. About 90,000 square feet of long vacant retail space to the rear was demolished last year and another 55,000 square feet on the plazas west side would need to be demolished to make way for the Meijer store. This includes a Big Lots store, a National Cash Advance location and some vacant storefronts.
Another 50,000 square feet closer to Route 59 would remain and be remodeled on the outside, including a Fitworks gym and retail spaces facing Route 59. An approximately 84,000-square-foot Macys department store on the plazas east side will also remain.
Risman said Stow Kent Associates is still working with Meijer on numerous details, such as those involving utility easements, that need to be resolved before Meijer completes the purchase of the property.
Things are moving along and hopefully it will progress to where well be able to complete the sale of the land, said Risman, adding he believes the sale will be completed by the end of this year.
Risman said the remaining demolition will most likely not take place until sometime after the property sale is concluded, especially since the tenants still have leases.
Nothing real long term, nothing that will hold up anything, he said.
Guglielmi said Meijer has the property under contract, which means weve negotiated a price and we have a contract to hold the price.
He said that even after the purchase and demolition are completed, it would still take some time before the store would open.
Once we have all the approvals and go through the due diligence and purchase the property, its about 12 to 14 months to build it, said Guglielmi.
Meijer Real Estate Manager Cris Jones told city officials last November the Stow store and gas station represents a $20 million investment.
According to Meijers website, the company has 220 stores in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Jones said last year that the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer is a third-generation, family-owned company.
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