Economic Development

Menards Eyes North Jackson for $50M Distribution Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – North Jackson is among the sites under consideration for a proposed manufacturing and distribution center that would service the Menards home improvement store chain.

A spokesman for Menard Inc. said the company had “nothing to report at this time,” but the Wisconsin-based company, which has more than 300 stores in 14 states including one in Warren, filed Oct. 21 for a water quality certification permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The application states the approximately $50 million project would involve constructing two distribution facilities and four manufacturing facilities and an associated access road at the 90-acre proposed site, located off Bailey Road north of the Interstate 76 intersection. The project would include a concrete block manufacturing plant, a truss plant, a bagging facility, a wood recycling plant, a distribution crossdock and an uncovered reload facility that would require rail service.

If the project moves forward, work is expected to start May 1 and is slated for completion April 3, 2021.

The company has been working with Jackson Township, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and the Western Reserve Port Authority, representatives of all three entities confirmed Thursday.

The Regional Chamber began working with Menards in 2014, said Shea MacMillan, business development manager with the chamber. The company contacted the chamber directly.

“We supported the project in its infancy by offering assistance on site selection, providing critical details on each site along with complimentary tours of the best fit locations,” MacMillan said. “Since helping them identify a shortlist, we continue to be engaged to ensure that their needs will be met and ultimately choose the Valley as their final location for this investment.”

According to the permit application, Menard Inc. plans to build a manufacturing and distribution center intended “to provide for company growth” in the region and to get manufacturing and distribution closer to its stores. There are six Menards stores in eastern Ohio and none in western Pennsylvania, but the company plans to increase those numbers substantially in the next few years, according to the application.

“At full build-out it is anticipated that 35 stores will be located in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The demand that this increase will put on the existing manufacturing facilities is too great, therefore new facilities must be constructed in order to adequately serve this new store growth,” the company said in the application.

The project itself would create 90 full-time positions, with an estimated annual payroll of $3.4 million, in addition to another 1,000 part- and full-time positions created at the additional stores the company plans to open.

Menard Inc. is still performing its due diligence, and reviewing what the property will be able to support, MacMillan said. “Given these circumstances, we do not have a definite understanding of the size, but the facility could encompass 150,000 to 200,000 square feet,” he projected.

Menard Inc. evaluated five northeastern Ohio sites, according to the Ohio EPA application: two in North Jackson and three more sites in Kent, Atwater and Ravenna.

“I wouldn’t doubt that they’re probably looking at other locations,” Jackson Township Trustee Tom Frost said. The township was approached several months ago, but the project was presented to officials under a different name, “which happens a lot of times with large companies,” he said.

Anthony Trevena, economic development director for the port authority, said he could not say how long his agency has been working with Menard Inc. because of a nondisclosure agreement. Potential ways the port authority would be involved with a project of this size would be a lease, issuing bonds or by helping set up a tax increment financing, or TIF, district.

“The company has not finalized their location on this project and continues to perform its due diligence on the proposed property in North Jackson as well as review locations outside of our market,” MacMillan emphasized. “We understand that the company is looking at this site and all others as an investment; we will work to identify resources that will secure their invest locally.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Mike Kalasnik from Fort Mill, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.