Real Estate

Meijer Pays $4M for 38 Acres Off Route 224

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Meijer Stores Ltd. took the next step toward building a store here with the purchase of nearly 39 acres of land off of U.S. Route 224.

According to the Mahoning County Auditor, the sale closed Friday for $2.4 million, transferring ownership of the property from Mercy Health Youngstown to Carnegie Management and Development Corp., the Cleveland developer acting on Meijer’s behalf. Meijer purchased the property from Carnegie for $4 million.

The increased sum was for properties that Carnegie had to acquire in addition to the 15.88 acres that were zoned commercial, including 22 acres of wetlands, says Alan Friedkin, owner and broker with Friedkin Realty LLC. Friedkin worked with Carnegie for two years on the deal, he says.

“With [Carnegie’s] efforts and ours together, we managed to make this thing happen,” Friedkin says. “I think it’s going to be a terrific spot and they will do very well in our market.”

Typically, it takes at least a year to 14 months for Meijer to build a store, says Frank Guglielmi, senior director of corporate communications. In an email, Guglielmi says the Boardman store won’t be open until summer 2021 at the earliest.

When finished, the store will create up to 275 full- and part-time jobs, and will invest between $20 million and $25 million in site development and store construction capital, according to information from Boardman Township.

Of the nearly 39 acres, 17 will be developed by Meijer, with the remaining acreage of wetlands staying untouched per a conservation easement, says Krista Beniston, director of zoning and development, Boardman Township.

To approve the commercial rezoning of 4.3 acres of residential property along Lockwood Boulevard, the easement – held by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy – had to be increased to 22 acres from 17.2 per negotiations, Beniston says. Township trustees approved the rezoning in July 2018, despite the Boardman Township Zoning Commission turning it down by a 4-1 vote in June 2018.

“Meijer needed added acres,” Beniston says. “In exchange for that, we were able to add a substantial portion into that conservation easement.”

That was a major issue, adds Friedkin, who had been working with Mercy for a decade to sell the property. In 2018, Mercy took ownership of the property from Humility of Mary Health Partners, which assumed ownership in 2011. St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center originally purchased the land in 1988 for $140,000, according to documents from the Mahoning County Auditor.

“I’ve been representing them for almost 10 years and never even had anyone that was willing to take care of the wetlands issue,” Friedkin says. “Everyone wanted it for half price.”

The township “took extra concern” with residents along Lockwood and those living in condos east of the development, and “listened to their concerns to mitigate any potential impacts” of the project, Beniston says.

Among the requirements for the project, Meijer will need to maintain above and below-ground water retention, and ensure any runoff from the project doesn’t increase from the current rate, Beniston says. The township has a parking requirement of one space per 200 square feet. Meijer requested a variance of 1 per 244 square feet, which was approved, she says.

The Meijer store will have 519 parking spaces, Guglielmi confirmed in an email.

To accommodate traffic, a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Lockwood Boulevard and Tippecanoe Road, Beniston says.

Meijer also owns property in Austintown and Niles, though no construction or opening dates have been set for those sites, Guglielmi notes.

Pictured: Alan Friedkin, broker at Friedkin Realty LLC, gives the thumbs up after the $2.4 million sale of 39 acres off U.S. Route 224.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.