Menards gets OK to build long-sought store near Ann Arbor
The approval clears the biggest obstacle for the Wisconsin-based home improvement chain, which wants to build a 160,000-square-foot store at the southeast corner of Jackson and Staebler roads.
“This has been a long time coming,” Menards representative Tom O’Neil told AnnArbor.com. “We’ve been scouring the area for a long time to locate a store for ourselves in the Ann Arbor area; finally, we’re there. To get the zoning is the major hurdle.”
Menards’ request was approved with very little discussion among the board. The company still has to receive board approval to be incorporated into Scio Township’s sewer district — something Township Supervisor Spaulding Clark said should not present any issues.
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The next big step for the company is to submit site plans to the Township, which O'Neil said should happen in the next 30 days.
Menards is under contract to purchase 62-acres of the 165-acre property known as the former Farmer Grant land. The owners of the 62-acres are Mel Vanderbrug and Don Colone, operating as Scio Properties LLC.
O’Neil said the store would use 18 to 20 acres of the site, leaving room for smaller, additional developments. It would include two access ways off Jackson Road and an additional two off Staebler. The company is aiming for a late 2013 or early 2014 opening.
The entire 165-acre site was conditionally zoned in 2009 after the property was eyed for development with the proposal of a $100 million mixed-use project called The Village at Honey Creek. That project fell through due to zoning issues and the crash in the real estate market.
Following Menards’ rezoning approval, the 62-acre property it’s under contract to purchase is now zoned straight commercial.
At the same time, the Scio Township Board of Trustees also voted unanimously Tuesday night to revert the conditional zoning for the remainder of the property back to its original designation: general agriculture.
The reversion was necessary, Township Planner Dan Lewan said last month, because the conditions of The Village at Honey Creek development cannot now be met.
“With the Menards land out of the picture, some of the phases of the original development are no longer possible,” Lewan said. “Our zoning ordinance is pretty specific on what we are able to do at this point we are to revert the zoning back to its original designation.”
Menards has 262 locations in 13 states, including nine locations in Michigan. The company is in various stages of planning and development for stores in Warren, Livonia and Kalamazoo County.
O’Neil said Menards tried — unsuccessfully — to enter the local market for years, including when Pittsfield Township voted to deny Menards’ rezoning request to build on Carpenter Road in 2010.
“We think we finally found a winner here as far as it meets our needs and the community’s needs as well,” he said.