After several years in the planning stages, Meijer confirmed Monday the company won’t build a new store on the old Geauga Lake land in Bainbridge Township.
"Our contract to purchase that site has expired, so we currently have no plans for a store at that specific location," said Frank Guglielmi, senior director of communications with Meijer, in an email message. "The Bainbridge Township area remains of interest to us though, although at this point we have no site under contract in that area."
Guglielmi did not respond to a request for additional comments.
Jeff Markley, a township trustee in Bainbridge, said the company may be interested in the old Flower Factory site, which he said has water and sanitary sewer service.
"It would be great if they took up that space," he said, adding the township gave Meijer contact information for that property owner several years ago. "Meijer didn’t really have interest at the time. This was before they got into all the due diligence on the Geauga Lake site."
Meijer had planned to build a 200,000-square-foot store on about 40 acres in what used to be the old Geauga Lake parking lot area, added Markley.
Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said she wasn’t surprised the retailer pulled out of the deal with Cedar Fair, which owns the former amusement park land.
"I know that Meijer had patiently watched this drag on for probably two or three years," she said. "It was my understanding that Meijer was paying a premium to Cedar Fair to lock in its place and help Cedar Fair in the sale of the rest of the property."
Meanwhile, Womer Benjamin said the city of Aurora is working with Jennifer Syx, president of InSite Advisory Group, "to develop a marketing plan for Aurora with respect to Geauga Lake site."
"We’ve had a number of inquiries, but I don’t think there is anything imminent," she said of potential new development on the Aurora side of the Cedar Fair land, which includes both the old Geauga Lake and Sea World properties. "We would like to see it at some point redevelop and become productive for the city. It’s a beautiful piece of property."
Womer Benjamin said the city is extending water and sewer with a 20 percent surcharge to a new Sherwin Williams paint store and Discount Tire store which will be located just north of The Marketplace along Route 43 in Bainbridge.
"It’s evidence of Aurora being willing to support businesses coming into the general area even though they may be on the Bainbridge side," she said.
Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, firstname.lastname@example.org or @bobgaetjens_rpc.