BRUNSWICK – While the city’s Planning Commission may have tabled the proposal to build a Meijer’s store on Center Road in recent weeks, City Council members want the community to know council and the administration remain in full support of bringing the 159,264-square-foot superstore to the community as soon as possible.
“There’s been a lot of talk on social media lately since that happened,” at-large Councilman Joseph Delsanter told City Council July 8, referring to Facebook group discussions that erupted following the June 20 planning commission meeting.
As part of those forums, Delsanter pointed out, residents criticized the city for balking at the retailer’s initial proposal and expressed their concerns that Meijer may opt to take their business north to Strongsville or south to Medina instead of working with the city.
“The perception is that we sent them away packing,” Delsanter said. “And in reality, it was just a procedural tactic to allow the corporation time to make considerable changes to the plans.”
At-large Councilman Brian Ousley echoed those sentiments.
“It has been discussed that (the city) is trying to shove Meijer out of here,” Ousley said. “That is definitely not the case.”
Community and Economic Development Director Grant Aungst explained that as part of the meeting, members of the planning commission and representatives from the corporate offices of Meijer agreed to table discussion plans for the project because there were many elements missing from the proposal that the commission requires before moving the project forward to a detailed site plan approval. Those plans are expected to be revised and presented to the city in the coming weeks.
Aungst assured both council and residents that Meijer’s project is already more than a year in discussions behind the scenes and that the city and the retailer have no plans to nix the project.
“Before we move forward, we need to make sure that all of it is vetted thoroughly,” Aungst said. “The same way the community wants them here, Meijer sees a lot of value in being in the Brunswick community.”
To back up his statement, Aungst said that even though the purchase price for the land at the southwest corner of Center Road and Warren Drive has yet to be revealed, “the purchase price will surprise people.”
“Meijer did so knowing this is where they want to be,” he said. “And we welcome them with open arms.”
Aungst explained that construction of the store has an estimated $20 million price tag and will bring approximately 300 full- and part-time jobs to the community. Approximately 70 percent of those jobs, he said, will be full-time.
In addition to the superstore, which will be a combination supermarket and department store, Meijer plans to also offer a 19,309-square-foot garden center and a 3,376-square-foot gas station and convenience store on the property.
The company currently operates more than 200 stores in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, four of which were opened in Ohio this past spring, including locations in Avon, Stow and Mentor.
Following the June 20 hearing, Planning Commission Chairman Joseph Shirilla said the commission was pleased with the plans for the site overall but requested the company reconsider the positioning of the proposed fueling station along with the building’s exterior design before returning with revised discussion plans.
Shirilla said the company presented its 2020 prototype store, which is expected to be slightly different from the retailer’s 2021 flagship store that will be built on the site if plans are approved. Both storefronts are expected to feature a slightly modified color scheme based on a minimalist, somewhat gray industrial look retailers are using.
“We’ve asked them to consider adjusting the color of the building to reflect more earth tones like those featured in Brunswick Town Center,” Shrilla said, noting that corporate representatives were initially hesitant to comply with the request due to the fact that the company prefers its corporate prototype.
Before construction begins, Shirilla said the medical office building, formerly operated by the Cleveland Clinic, that is located just west of Scene 75, will be demolished. According to current plans, the store, which will be accessible via Center Road and possibly Maxwell Drive, is not expected to be completed until 2022.