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Meijer buys land near Waterville

Store would give boost to development project

  • BIZ-meijer27p-1

    BIZ meijer27p Exterior of the Meijer store on Central Avenue in Toledo, Ohio on August 26, 2013.

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Meijer Inc. has purchased a 25-acre site near Waterville where it plans to build a grocery and general goods store.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer, which already has five stores in the Toledo area, had obtained a purchase option for the site on Waterville Swanton Road near U.S. 24 in 2013.

It decided to buy the property at the end of January for $3.9 million. The sale was recorded Monday.

Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi said the company has no timetable for groundbreaking or a store opening.

“Whenever we’re considering a location for a store we’ll sign a contract to purchase a property. Then do our due diligence and buy the property, and then go through the process of working with the community,” he said. “This is not a store that we’re looking at building anytime soon. But obviously we’re interested in the site,” he added.

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The store would be located in the Villages at Waterville Landing, a 350-acre, mixed-use development.

The development was created by a local private investment group, Farnsworth Investors Inc., in 2010 but it was purchased in 2013 by local real estate investment trust Devonshire REIT Inc. of Whitehouse as part of a $31 million package of properties.

Doug Dymarkowski, Devonshire’s vice president and general counsel, said when the real estate trust bought Waterville Landing, the Meijer purchase option already was in place. “We just followed through on it,” he said.

“They told us their only timetable was they wanted to purchase property by the end of January,” Mr. Dymarkowski said.

If Meijer follows through as expected, Mr. Guglielmi said the retailer generally takes 12 to 14 months to build a store.

Its current supercenter design is 190,000 square feet, and stores of that size employ 250 workers, Mr. Guglielmi said. Each store includes a garden center and drive-up pharmacy, and most now include a gas station/​convenience store, the spokesman said.

Meijer would give a significant boost to the Waterville Landing project, a site that is roughly bounded by Waterville-Monclova Road on the east, Waterville-Swanton Road (State Rt. 64) on the north, Dutch Road on the north, and the U.S. 24 bypass to the west.

Kroger opened a new store there in 2010, and it was joined by Farmers & Merchants State Bank.

After it bought the development, Devonshire funded construction of a strip center to the north of the Kroger site that contains a restaurant, hair salon, and a physicians’ office. Last year a Speedway gas station opened in front of where the Meijer store would be.

Devonshire also plans to construct a building that will serve as its new headquarters in the Waterville Landing confines.

But the project still has plenty of room, including a 27-acre site adjacent to Meijer that could contain another big box retailer. Another 25-acre parcel next to Kroger also remains available. The site is being marketed by Danberry National Ltd.

Waterville had 5,523 residents, according to the 2010 census.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

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