STOW -- The possibility that a Meijer department and grocery store could be built in Brimfield has apparently not impacted a planned Meijer store at the Stow-Kent Shopping Center off Route 59.
According to Summit County property records, Meijer purchased the plaza's back portion, where the 193,000 square-foot store is planned, from Stow-Kent Associates in December for a little under $3.79 million. Stow-Kent Associates still owns the 50,000-square-foot front portion of the plaza, including stores facing Route 59 and a Fitworks gym immediately behind those stores.
"As far as we know, [plans for the store are] still progressing," Stow Planning Director Rob Kurtz told the Stow Sentry on March 8.
Calls made to Meijer spokespersons seeking additional information were not returned before press time.
Rob Risman, a principal in Stow-Kent Associates, told the Stow Sentry, also on March 8, that he has had limited contact with Meijer since the property sale, but he believes that Meijer is still planning on holding off starting construction until after the lease for the Big Lots store in the plaza expires in early 2018. The store is in a portion of the plaza slated for demolition to make way for part of the Meijer parking lot.
Meanwhile, Risman said Stow-Kent Associations is moving forward with plans to remodel the exterior of the portion of the plaza it still owns.
"We are in the process of finalizing with the contractor we're working with and should be starting our portion of the project in the spring, as soon as the weather gets better, which is going to be the new fronts on the portion of the plaza that we're continuing to own there," said Risman. "I'm not too sure how long it will take, but it's a significant amount of work we're going to be doing, all new fronts there, new canopying in front. It's going to look very nice."
In addition, said Risman, an interior wall is also being constructed that will become the new northern exterior wall once Meijer demolishes its portion of the plaza
Risman said the exterior of the Macy's department store, which his company also still owns, is being cleaned and may have some "minor work" done to it, but not to the extent of the rest of the plaza.
The Brimfield Township zoning commission recently approved a zoning change for the 120-acre Maplecrest Golf Club from residential-office to general commercial and light industrial. A proposed retail development on the site includes the possibility of a Meijer store.
According to a March 2 Meijer press release, the company is planning to spend $375 million this year on construction of new stores and remodeling existing ones, but a list of planned construction projects in the release does not include any sites in Ohio.
Both Stow's planning commission and City Council approved a site plan in November 2014 for a 193,000-square-foot Meijer store at the plaza's rear west side, 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 Wendy's restaurant.
Stow-Kent Associates still owns the building housing the restaurant. Risman said this past November that Wendy's had exercised some lease options and he said March 8 that while the service station is "still a definite possibility," it may be some time before it is constructed because the restaurant's lease has as much as 10 years to run.
"It could be the next phase for Meijer moving forward," said Risman.
Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi told the Stow Sentry in September 2015 that the store would be about the size of a typical Meijer "super store," which has between 250 and 300 full- and part-time employees, and would take about 12 to 14 months to build. Meijer Real Estate Manager Cris Jones told the planning commission in November 2014 that Meijer employees are unionized. Jones told city officials in November 2014 that the Stow store and gas station would be a "$20 million investment."
Editor's note: Record-Courier reporter Kelly Maile contributed to this story.
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