STOW -- A planned Meijer grocery and department store at the rear of the Stow-Kent Shopping Center on Kent Road will be smaller than previously planned.

City Council approved last night a site plan change reducing the size of the store from 192,940 square feet that was approved in 2014 to 159,253 square feet.

The revised plan also eliminates a Meijer service station on the site of a Wendy's restaurant by Route 59.

Earlier this month, the city's planning commission gave its approval of the revised site plan.

City planning director Rob Kurtz said that reducing the size of the store allows for it to be constructed farther away from the west property line with the Stow-Glen Retirement Village, where there is also a natural gas easement that limits construction there. The reduction also increases the amount of green space on the property.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2018 and take about a year.

Meijer completed the purchase of its portion of the plaza from Stow-Kent Associates for nearly $3.79 million in December, according to Summit County property records.

The Meijer store will be about 800 feet from Kent Road. Stow-Kent Associates still owns a portion of the plaza closest to the road, the Wendy's restaurant, and the Macy's department store property just west of the Meijer site.

Rob Risman, a principal in Stow-Kent Associates, told the Stow Sentry in March that the gas station could not be built now because the Wendy's restaurant exercised lease options last fall that will allow it to remain in the site for up to another 10 years.

The Meijer store is to include various departments, including grocery, a drive-thru pharmacy and an outdoor garden center. A 55,000-square-foot portion of the plaza now occupied by a Big Lots store is expected to be demolished next year to make way for additional parking space for Meijer. About 89,500 square feet of vacant space at the rear of the plaza was demolished several years ago.

Meijer real estate manager Cris Jones has said underground utility work is expected to start in July, but the start of construction will have to wait until after the Big Lots lease expires at the end of next January because construction would "impede" Big Lots business, something the lease prohibits.

For more on this story see the June 4 issue of the Stow Sentry.


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