Economic Development

Meijer Not Coming Until 2020 at Earliest

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Meijer retail chain announced plans Thursday to construct seven new supercenters and remodel 22 more locations, but a planned store in Austintown likely won’t open until 2020 at the earliest, a township zoning official said.

Last year, Meijer Stores Ltd. purchased the former Austintown Middle School and earlier this year bought the building that formerly housed the Austintown Branch of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County.

According to a news release yesterday, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer plans to spend $375 million on new and remodeled stores across its six-state footprint.

“These projects represent an investment in our customers, team members and the local communities that have supported us for so long,” Rick Keyes, president and CEO, said. “We’re also excited that at long last we’ll cross the bridge and open our first stores in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

The new Meijer supercenters opening in 2017 include:

  • Escanaba, Mich.
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
  • McCordsville, Ind.
  • Franklin, Ind.
  • Greenfield, Wis.
  • Howard, Wis. (Green Bay)
  • West Bend, Wis.

By the end of 2017, Meijer will have remodeled and upgraded nearly 90 stores since 2010.

Meijer is seeking bids to demolish the former Austintown school and library buildings, reported Darren Crivelli, Austintown zoning inspector. “They’d like to have both the school and the former library down by the beginning of July,” he said.

However, the retailer isn’t anticipating an opening before 2021, or spring 2020 under a “best-case scenario,” he added.

At an October meeting of the township board of zoning appeals, Lanie West, a project manager with Dayton-based Woolpert Inc., representing Meijer, presented a five-year timeline for the project. According to minutes from the meeting, the construction schedule depends on the company’s progress on financing, closing on the property and determining what will be built. The family-owned company, which has one development team and one construction team, is “small” and does not want to overextend.

“If plans are finalized it could be a 2020 store,” West said, according to the minutes.

“The property will sit for a while but they are committed to the area,” Crivelli said yesterday. “They are moving forward.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.