Maumee city officials confirmed Wednesday that the former Andersons general store in town will become a warehouse for the company, a far cry from original plans that included a Maumee Market concept.
Last summer, LivingSpace Sunrooms executives Fred Calero and Kraig Mackett spent more than $6 million to acquire property containing the Illinois Avenue store, Andersons Mower Center, and a Sunoco gas station. Mr. Calero told The Blade in August he envisioned multiple retailers essentially re-creating The Andersons store, and said he was having productive conversations with big-time potential tenants.
Customers leave the Andersons General Store in Maumee in January of 2017. The Andersons retail locations closed last year, and the company now plans to open a warehouse at the site.
Maumee City Council unanimously approved a zoning change Monday for the property from C-2, commercial, to M-1, light industrial. City Administrator John Jezak said the property was leased back to The Andersons and will be used by the agriculture firm's plant nutrient division.
Peter Dewhirst, an agent hired by Mr. Calero and Mr. Mackett, said his clients did not wish to comment. Andersons spokesman Katelin Langenderfer also declined comment.
Mr. Jezak was informed in February that the Maumee Market idea fell apart.
"There were a couple [investors] looking at buying or leasing the property from [Mr. Mackett] and lining up these tenants," Mr. Jezak said. "The other tenants they were trying to line up were specialty food-and-beverage operators. They were searching for months, and apparently didn't really get to a level where they had enough people signing on the dotted line."
The market was modeled after similar designs in the Cleveland and Detroit areas, including the Motor City's Eastern Market, the largest open-air flowerbed market in the United States. Mayor Richard Carr said plans called for a hardware store on one side, a nursery on the other, and a market in the middle.
Mr. Jezak said House of Meats and Monnette’s Market were courted, but both chose other locations for new stores. The idea of an entertainment district with restaurants also was floated.
Mayor Carr said tax revenue generated by the warehouse compared to the conceptual plans "won't even be remotely close.”
“It’s nice to have something, but it’s a little disappointing,” Mayor Carr said. “It would have been kind of a fun place for the area. It would have been an attraction for people, even from outside Maumee.”
Charlie Carr, the mayor’s brother, was approached by the investors. He worked at The Andersons for decades and was in line to be the market’s general manager.
Mr. Carr doesn't know exactly why the market idea didn’t become reality, but he said it was a letdown.
“There was an agreed-upon price, but for some reason, our people didn’t purchase it,” he said. “Then there was another price, but when they ran the numbers, it didn’t make sense for them.
“The concept was there. I thought we could bring that back to life. The people in Maumee really wanted to see that thing, but it just didn’t come together.”
Mr. Dewhirst indicated more details would be announced in June.
The Andersons closed its four retail stores last year.
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