Meijer Developer Seeks Extension on Zoning Decision

Meijer Eyes Third Store Site in Valley

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Though there are no confirmed plans as yet, speculation swirls around a potential Meijer store near the Eastwood Mall Complex.

In a story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer published Tuesday, Frank Guglielmi, senior director for communications for Meijer Stores Ltd., said the retailer listed several sites it owned in Ohio, including property in Austintown on Mahoning Avenue and a “Warren/Niles” site.

The story also cites land the Grand Rapids, Mich., grocery and home goods chain has acquired in Boardman.

Guglielmi and other Meijer media representatives did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday, but Peter Ross, Howland Township zoning administrator, confirmed that his office had been contacted by Meijer representatives to discuss the processes required for permitting, variances and site plans, he reported.

Niles and Howland are home to the sprawling Eastwood Mall Complex, operated by the Cafaro Co., which relocated its headquarters there in 2016.

“We talk to retailers like Meijer all the time,” said Joe Bell, director of corporate communications for Cafaro. He could not say whether they are in talks with the store now.

“There are always ways of configuring a property at a complex the size of Eastwood” for such a project, Bell said.

This year, the 193,749-square-foot building that housed the Super Kmart at the mall complex became available when that store closed.

The proposed Austintown Meijer store, which the company plans to build on a 15-acre site it began acquiring in 2016, is expected to be about 195,000 square feet, said Darren Crivelli, township zoning inspector.

The company has indicated a store opening in 2021,or possibly a year earlier in a “best case scenario,” he said.

This summer, Boardman Township officials approved a zone change Meijer requested for the 17-acre site on U.S. Route 224 where it plans to build a 159,000-square-foot store.

The site, which Meijer is purchasing from Mercy Health Youngstown LLC, is under contract. “The natural due diligence process continues to move forward with all parties, including the purchaser and township,” said Jonathon Fauvie, integrated communications/public relations manager for Mercy Health’s Youngstown and Lorain regions.

Meijer now has to submit its construction plans to site plan review, Krista Beniston, Boardman director of zoning and development, said. Once that is reviewed, they can apply for the zoning permit, which she said she expects to happen this fall.

“We’re very excited about them being here,” Beniston said. “We’ve already heard some concerns from residents, mainly regarding light and noise, and we’ll take those and other concerns into consideration when we do the site plan review.”

That Meijer would want a third Mahoning Valley location didn’t surprise Cafaro’s Bell. “When they look to enter a market, they like o have at least three locations,” he said.

Though unaware of the potential third store, Beniston also said the development isn’t surprising.

“I know they were interested in having several in the area,” and a store at or near Eastwood “would be the kind of location that would next make sense,” she said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.