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Posted on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

Menards wants to build home improvement store on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township

By Paula Gardner

Menard Inc., a family-owned Midwest home improvement chain, wants to build a store on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township.

Menard recently filed a rezoning petition with the township, the first step toward building a 162,000-square-foot store on the property at 4700 Carpenter Road.

The rezoning request is now one of two made by large retailers seeking to enter the greater Ann Arbor market by building stores in the township: Costco also has a deal to build a store — proposed to be about 140,000 square feet — if a township rezoning request is approved.

The Costco request is on hold until the township concludes its master plan revisions. Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal has said that process should be finalized by spring 2011.

The master plan process may not impact Menards' rezoning request, since a public hearing will be scheduled soon.

"The Planning Commission is going to take a look at it," Supervisor Mandy Grewal said this afternoon. 

The Menards location is between Michigan Avenue and the I-94 overpass, with visibility from US-23. The land is owned by Ashley Capital, which in 2006 considered building a 585,000-square-foot distribution center that would have added 500 jobs.

“We’ve been studying the demographics of the greater Ann Arbor area for a long time and trying to determine the best place to build a store,” said Tom O’Neil of the Menard Inc. properties division.

The location is about a half-mile from the intersection of Carpenter and Ellsworth roads, where both Lowe’s and Home Depot operate stores.

That doesn’t affect the effort by Menards to build a store nearby, O’Neil said.


Source: Facebook

“The location of the property that we target needs to be the best for us,” O’Neil said.

He added the store’s larger footprint “is one of the things that we do to differentiate ourselves.”

Menard Inc., based in Eau Claire, Wisc., operates more than 250 stores in the Midwest and employs about 40,000 people. Its home improvement products are complemented by a full-service lumber yard.

According to online reports, the company’s revenue was estimated at $7.9 billion in 2009. The company is opening 8-10 stores in 2011, O’Neil said, including one in Michigan in Davison Township near Flint.

After Ashley Capital's efforts stalled — key components of supply chain management suffered along with manufacturers and retailers during the economic downtown — the property was marketed for sale or lease. At the time, Ashley Capital operated 14 million square feet of that property type.

The property has been listed as Ann Arbor Corporate Center with a team from Signature Associates. Menard Inc. now has it under contract for purchase.

Susan Harvey, vice president of Ashley Capital, was not available for comment today.

Menards needs a rezoning from the township to move forward on the store site. It’s zoned for limited industrial use, but needs to be switched to general commercial for plans to proceed.

O’Neil said he has not yet had a response from the township regarding the Menard rezoning request.

Menards operates 20 stores in Michigan. It advertises itself as a low-price leader in the home improvement retail sector.

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.


Corey Fellabaum

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

I live south of where proposed Menards is going to be. It is a good thing that Menards want to build here because Michigan needs jobs and needs to improve the economy. By having new businesses in Washtenaw County, our county and area can prosper and excel. It is good for us and for the area. To bring Michigan back we need Jobs and new businesses to come to Michigan and make jobs. Ann Arbor is a good location because of the Universities (Michigan and Eastern Michigan) in our area, we also have a diverse background of people, and our area was ranked: * In June, 2010, Ann Arbor was ranked one of the "Ten Best Cities for Families" according to Parenting magazine. * Ann Arbor was named the third Best Midwest Food Town by Midwest Living magazine in 2009, and the third Best Midwest Food Town in Midwest Living's 2010 "Best of the Midwest Issue." * Forbes named Ann Arbor the "Best College Sports Town" in 2009 and 2010 * Ann Arbor was named the "Best Place in Michigan to Raise Your Kids" by Business Week magazine in 2009. * Ann Arbor is the third "Best Place to Retire" according to Black Enterprise Magazine * named Ann Arbor one if its "Top Five Surprisingly Gay-friendly Small Towns." * Ann Arbor was named the "Healthiest Hometown in America " by AARP Magazine in 2008. * Money Magazine ranked Ann Arbor #27 on their list of "America's Best Small Cities" in 2008. * Ann Arbor was named 1st in the State of Michigan and 16th overall in Forbes 7th annual ranking of "Best Places for Business & Careers " in 2008. * US News listed the City of Ann Arbor as one of the top 10 "Brainiest Places to Retire" in 2008. * Prevention magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association rated Ann Arbor as the third best walking city in America. * Popular Science named Ann Arbor one of America's 50 Greenest Cities in 2008. * Money magazine ranked Ann Arbor #42 on their "Best Cities to Live and Launch a Business" in 2008. * named Ann Arbor 4th Smartest City in the U.S. in 2008. * Sperlings Best Places ranked Ann Arbor t 3rd Smartest City in America in 2007. * Sperling's Best Places rated Ann Arbor as the "5th Best City To Live in the U.S." in 2007. * Expansion Management magazine rated Ann Arbor "#1 Knowledge Worker Metro in the Nation", and one of the "Top 10 Metros for College-Educated Workers" in 2007. * Country Home magazine awarded Ann Arbor a #11 ranking on its Greenest Places in America list in 2007. * ranked Ann Arbor as one of the 10 Smartest Cities in the U.S. in 2006. * Money magazine ranked Ann Arbor as one of the Top 25 Places to Live in the U.S. in 2006. * American Style magazine ranked Ann Arbor One of the Top 25 Arts Destinations in the U.S. in 2006 and in 2009. from Ann Arbor Area All of this is why businesses want to come to the Ann Arbor Area. Ann Arbor is a great place for new businesses.

A. Luther

Mon, Jan 10, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

We love Menards. They carry many items that Lowes and Home Depot do not have. I would prefer it be built closer to WalMart in the Michigan/State Street corridor. I think, with Home Depot and Lowes on Carpenter, a change in location would help anchor the newest developing area and diversify the retail arena. It is also close to the expressway, and easier for communities to the south to access. I would like Pittsfield Township to work on their time frame for getting these projects approved. I know you have to be careful, but if I were Costco I would have been very discouraged and might have started looking elsewhere.


Thu, Dec 16, 2010 : 9:14 p.m.

I can't believe Pittsfield is dragging there feet. Get with it and get to your master plan. You are going to do something in the spring????? What are you being paid for get with it before they decide to look somewhere else that is friendly to new businesses and a tax base and jobs.


Wed, Dec 15, 2010 : 9:24 p.m.

Half the price of Lowe's, but less than half the quality you find at Fingerle's. And prices of lumber at Fingerle are usually cheaper than at the big box store's.


Wed, Dec 15, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

Thanks, Arieswoman. I would think they'd also need to add a light there, as there's a street that comes out by the Unity Church, and then there would need to be access to the parking lot? I wouldn't be thrilled about the light and heavier traffic there, as I travel that route multiple times a day, but there are a lot worse things they could be contemplating putting in there, like another truck storage and loading facility.


Wed, Dec 15, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Arieswoman - Thanks. Interesting location with no retail around it, and out of site from the "stuff" north of I-94. Works for me though. I drive by that field on the way to HD/ Lowes. Gemini27200- Your first comment can be explained using your comment. The administration that fought to keep out Walmart contains folks that were part of the recall/ vote out. They mostly are not the same group that is now considering this project and Costco. The group that was in 2006 is not really the same as 2010 so double-talk is not a correct description.


Wed, Dec 15, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

Paula - where is the report on the Master Plan meeting on Dec 13? This is clearly more newsworthy than Menards may build - they can't if Pittsfield doesn't meet for any Master Plan meetings? Where is the news update?

Ann English

Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 8:06 p.m.

Someone commented on Walgreens and CVS competing on opposite sides of Washtenaw Avenue east of Hewitt. How about the O'Reilly's and Auto Zone stores right next door to the drugstores? I've noticed that they're more likely to have auto parts in stock than Napa's on South Industrial Highway or O'Reilly's Auto Parts on Stadium. Nearby competition boosts their efficiency.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

YES, YES, YES!!! They're 1/2 the price of LOWE's.


Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

Just what we need on Carpenter Road - a home improvement store! Look out Lowes and Home Depot.


Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

Really, why bother. Ann Arbor and pittsfield just don't want it. Last one out, turn off the lights.

Dog Guy

Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.

I like the "made in USA" tags in Menard's advertisements. Ann Arbor's mayor can run a high-speed rail line to Pittsfield for me.

Basic Bob

Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.

@wait.think, The Menard's location would have an Ypsilanti address, same as Lowe's and Home Depot. This goes beyond a little competition. Three big box hardware stores within two miles on the same side of the road.


Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 4:59 a.m.

Ypsi Township? The township is a nightmare to deal with, even if rezoning isn't needed. Just ask those involved in building the credit union on Whittaker road. They are better off building in Pittsfield township.

Michael K.

Tue, Dec 14, 2010 : 2:01 a.m.

I hope the township plans to work with Costco to help fund major improvements to the State Street intersection. That area is already a huge mess at most times of day. And near impossible to negotiate at rush hour. It is bad all the way from the airport, back past the mall to the car dealerships. Of course, only the part south of I-94 is really their responsibility. If it isn't funded up front in the planning stages, y'all are going to pay for a $150 million project over the next 10-15 years through increased taxes. I've seen it many times before. Gotta make sure the infrastructure can meet the requirements before they get too far into giving the companies everything they want. It certainly is way insufficient as it stands now.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 10:53 p.m.

I have been in the trades for 40 years and I have been to the store in Jackson a couple times. They are ok. BUT do not try to access their web site to find out what they have! It is THE most useless excuse for a web site I have ever seen. And you will not find anything but their weekly flier!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 8:34 p.m.

They are based out of Wisconsin. So, are they going to import people from Wisconsin and displace Michiganders again? I've seen this before. Out of state come in and bring in out of state employees. Might as well move to Wisconsin. But then again Lowe vs Home Depot vs Menards. Could be a good ball game?


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 8:17 p.m.

Menards is working with township officials in Hartland to build a store there. They want to build a 162,000 square foot store next to the new Meijer's on the northeast corner of M-59 and Hartland Road.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

Excellent point walt.think. It would cost significantly less to develop on that property, and the development could be created on a faster time scale because no special zoning is required. Doe: When you talk about Wal-Mart being near the Saline school campus and your subdivision, don't forget that before Saline developed the property, and your sub evolved from a consent judgement, that the Wal-Mart property was already zoned for it's specific of use 20+ years prior. That's correct, no comparison to Costco or Menards - they require several special changes first. If the future of Pittsfield is big boxes to pay for employee free-time from the tax revenue, I hope that's what everyone wants.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:56 p.m.

Quite a bit of Pittsfield Township has an Ann Arbor address so it's looked at by a lot of businesses. Too bad the officials make it so difficult to actually build a business there. They have already lost out on a lot of development because of their lack of a reasonable Master Plan. Please, new businesses, take a closer look at the very desireable property right next to I-94 at the Huron Street Exit (#183.) It has an Ypsi address, and is visible from the freeway, and maybe it wouldn't be the same to Ann Arborites as actually going INTO Ypsilanti! Much of it it owned by the Township and is ready-to-build with infrastructure in place! This property is unique in that 30,300 cars travel along the one-mile strip of road (Huron/Whittaker) between Stony Creek Road and I-94. A lot of that traffic is funneling in from the Tecumseh/Adrian area on the "Ypsilanti Highway", also known as Ridge Hwy/Stony Creek Road. Much of this traffic goes to I-94 and points east (Detroit, Metro Airpot, auto factories, etc.) This information does not show up in the five-mile radius demographic tool that many businesses use to determine viable locations. Panera Bread didn't want to consider this area because of their use of the five-mile radius tool. The location on Jackson Road has a third less cars that travel past it, but the surrounding area is pretty posh, and of course, it has an Ann Arbor address. The homeowners in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Augusta Township, Sumpter Township, York Township, Milan, and northern Monroe County would love to NOT have to travel to Ann Arbor or Canton to get to great stores and restaurants. Build and we will come! Most of us from farther than five miles!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:56 p.m.

This is fantastic news! I love Menards. Great prices. Great Service. Great selection. And best of all, more jobs for out area! Yippee!!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:40 p.m.

Correcting last comment Wal-Mart did not require any special zoning for it's location. I don't understand why one big box is bad, and the others are good, but require a lot more work to even be considered. Very strange.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:38 p.m.

I am amazed. I see post daily," we need jobs," but I have noticed a considerable amount of negative post, concerning this story. I think that it is funny. People questioning the marketing of Menards. Do you think, that they would plop down millions, if they did not think, they would recoup their investment? I welcome the competition, and economic activity in a this "siberian" economy. SAVE BIG MONEY AT MENARDS!!!!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:37 p.m.

Hey Doe - Great Cheerleading! Apples and Oranges are both fruits, just like Engineers and Nurses are highly skilled professionals. The difference here is that Wal-Mart did require any special zoning, these big boxes do. All three bring in needed tax revenue. Why oppose one, and turn around to bend over backwards for the others? Just an example of the current Pittsfield Double-Standards. Why can't the Planning Commission discuss the Master Plan in public every month, not every 6 months? Social Media is not the same as a public meeting. Oh, maybe the board gave them more days off - They did! Both boards meet less than any previous Administration.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

Paula - The Current Master Plan does not support the proposed re-zoning. The Master Plan need to be modified, then the request for re-zoning can be approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Trustees. How about telling us about those nice 10% raises Pittsfield handed out 2 years ago, or the new contract with the new days off, or the increase in property taxes? Can you also investigate which of these Pittsfield officials opposed Wal-Mart, and now are bringing in these big boxes? Seems a little NIMBY to me.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

Seems that Pittsfield is leading the way in economic development for this region. Nice work. Attracting the right kinds of business to the right locations is the key. @Gemini27200: comparing Walmart next to a school with Costco and Menard's at their locations is like comparing the U of M School of Nursing with the School of Engineering. Apples and Oranges. Unless you were an ousted former board member that is. Some just can't move on.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 7:08 p.m. - could you put up a map that shows where on Carpenter this is proposed for? I'm having trouble figuring it out. Thank you!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 6:54 p.m.

As a resident of Pittsfield Township.....thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep bringing the business our way.

Basic Bob

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 6:35 p.m.

"Now they turn around and bring in not one, but two big boxes - Even changing the Master Plan for them!" Yes, the 2010 master plan is still a big mystery to township residents, even though 2010 is nearly over. Forget all the pictures of lush oases, fluffy kittens and puppies, I just want to see what the new zoning map looks like. That is all that really matters when a property owner wants to build something.

Mark A.

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 6:14 p.m.

I don't know. Builders may go where the prices are the cheapest, but most consumers are creatures of habit. To get the 50% of customers that are slightly closer to Menards to stop by instead of continuing to Lowe's, they'll need to do some monster marketing and be overstaffed for awhile.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 6:07 p.m.

If I had my wish I would want them to move on Jackson Rd @ Baker Perfect location and right at I-94 exit. Hopefully Pittsfield won't get there master plan act together and Scio will start begging businesses to come to there township for the tax base and jobs.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

This Pittsfield Administration is amazing. They and Ms. Judge fought against Wal-Mart tooth and nail, even launching a recall against the former elected officials. Now they turn around and bring in not one, but two big boxes - Even changing the Master Plan for them! Note: Wal-Mart was zoned for a big box since the 1970's and didn't require any changes. We have a group that in Pittsfield that seems to say one thing in 2006 and do another in 2010. They've raised our property taxes, given employees fat raises, and even now have given the employees another paid 4 days off. I hope the voters are paying attention before it's too late


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 5:22 p.m.

I think we need another home store like we need another drug store chain. I just can't believe all these stores (more home stores and drug stores) can even stay in business!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 5:19 p.m.

MorninGirl has it wrong, it's about the zoning. Since zoning has one or two there already, then why not 3,4 or 5? That way they saturate an area and when one or more don't survive, you have lost the land and the jobs! By the way, I drive to Tractor Supply in Saline for most good quality tools, hardware, etc.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

@morninggirl, it makes you wonder what the saturation level for these stores is though. How many Big Box hardware stores can one strip of road sustain? We credit things developments like this with job creation while ignoring the inevitable job loss that will result from the business it takes away from the stores already there.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

Mark, they do this on purpose, like the Walgreen's on Washtenaw at Hewitt building right across the street from the CVS. Their reasoning is that it has been proven that the market is there. Their goal is to take that market away from the store that was there first.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:17 p.m.

Sweet!I go the Menard's every time my job takes me to Jackson. Guess all the times I gave then my zip code payed off.

Buster W.

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

This is no surprise at all. Menard's began including their store inserts in and other papers about a year ago. Kind of strange given the closest stores were Jackson and Toledo.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:11 p.m.

I've always been impressed with Menards, the few times I've been in their stores. Lots of selection and good prices. The competition for building materials will be fierce with Lowes and Home Depot right down the road, however. But, based on comments here, I now understand why Menards has been spending money putting big inserts in the Ann Arbor newspaper - because customers in Washtenaw County WILL drive to the Jackson store! If it adds jobs, I'm all for it.

Tom Joad

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

I'm all for it. We've used the one in Traverse City and it would be the preferred place to shop in lieu of lowes and hd. Menard's is simply wonderful. Their tool line is excellent, and hardware sections are organized and well laid out. Their coverage is comprehensive; you'd be impressed. Everytime I'm in there I say to myself wish Ann Arbor had one.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

Be wary. I have frequented Menard's, Lowe's, and Home Depot. While all have personal preferences, I won't go to Menard's anymore because all of their building supplies are cheap quality. They are like the Wal-Mart of home improvement. It may seem you are saving a little money until you have to tear it out and replace it. I've been through it more than once.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

It's all about which townships happily accept new businesses and jobs in the wake of Ann Arbor's insane leadership. Ann Arbor Township makes it very difficult. There's a large area of land near 23 south of Territorial that would have much more value if developed and served by an exit.

Mark A.

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

I welcome the jobs but I think it's odd they're building costco so close to sam's and menards so close to lowe's.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

I wonder if Fingerle would sell it's land - if it's struggling to stay in business. It's right on the railroad and near a trainstop - so that land has potential to be something huge in 20 years (if rail does every take off again) I wonder if the North side of town needs love though - it is interesting how M14 just does not draw any retail love. Then again - maybe that is good - control sprawl. (P.S. I love fingerle by the way)

Deb Durden

Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

We frequently drive to the Jackson Menard's and will welcome one in the Ann Arbor area.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:24 p.m.

Menard's offers a much wider range of materials than either Home Depot or Lowe's. They have less of a power tool selection in their Jackson and Lansing Stores. The lumber portion of Lowe's will rival Fingerle's for completeness and selection. I hate to see Fingerle's have to compete, but I am glad Lowe's and Home Depot will have to. I suspect the Home Depot store will end up needing to be recycled in a couple of years, it is small for a Home Depot and has the worst of the 3 locations. With the exception of Fingerle's (and maybe Chelsea Lumber), I think most people will welcome this addition to town.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:20 p.m.

Did aliens land and secretly bury a homing beacon for giant big box stores in Pittsfield's cornfields? It's insane how much development pressure that area gets.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

YEAH!!!!;o) COSTCO and now Menard's, I won't ever need to leave Washtenaw County again to shop!!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

Menard's has a store in Jackson. They have better prices than Lowe's or Home Depot.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

Build it & I will come!!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:11 p.m.

They must feel quite confident, given that both Lowes and Home Depot are just to the north.


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

"Carpenter Road", perfect street name for lumber yards!


Mon, Dec 13, 2010 : 3:07 p.m.

It's hard to say menards is "family owned" when their estimated sales figures are 8 billion, but if they can compete with home depot this is a good thing in my book.