A new Family Dollar store will be the likely neighbor to a new McDonald’s on South Main Street on the site of a former church.
Recently, a sign touting the arrival of Family Dollar was up temporarily on the site at South Main, Thornton and Broadway streets. In 2011, Rubber City McDonald’s amassed about three acres, purchasing the property and building of the former Church of the Good Shepherd and a nearby Verizon retail store.
Originally, John Blickle of Rubber City McDonald’s had hoped to save the church building and convert it to an office building. But engineering studies showed significant damage, and the building was demolished the following year. The church was owned by the Family of Faith congregation at 800 E. Market St., which holds the merged congregations of the Church of the Good Shepherd and Church of the Master.
Rubber City McDonald’s changed its plans and said it would be looking for a “national” retailer for the remainder of the site since the economy would not support an office building.
That national retailer is likely Family Dollar. When contacted after the sign went up recently, Blickle said his company has had discussions with Family Dollar and has a contract, though there are “still a lot of contingencies that need to be filled.”
Blickle said he felt the sign went up prematurely. Later that same day, Blickle phoned to say the sign would be coming down.
Family Dollar has identified the South Main street site for a new store and has the site under contract, confirmed Derek Jones, vice president of real estate for The Hutton Co., a general contractor and developer based in Chattanooga, Tenn. which develops land for Family Dollar.
“We are going through typical due diligence ... you would do before you build a new store. It’s early in the process. Unfortunately, a sign got put up too soon,” said Jones.
The store would not replace another Family Dollar store, but would be added to the company’s Akron locations. The company’s website lists almost 40 stores in the Akron region.
The Family Dollar store would be about 8,000 square feet and would be on the southern part of the site not being used by the McDonald’s.
Blickle plans to build a new McDonald’s on the block, closer to the Thornton Street area of the property. The McDonald’s will replace a nearby drive-through only at the Wolf Ledges-Interstate 76-77 interchange. Blickle has said the new 5,000-square-foot restaurant would include a dining room and would cost more than $1.5 million to build.
Plans are on schedule to begin building the new McDonald’s in the late fall, Blickle said recently.
“It’s still very much a go for us. We get the sense that the expressway exits are slowly going to close. We think more are going to close ultimately,” he said.
In December, the westbound ramp of I-76/77 at Wolf Ledges closed permanently for safety reasons. The ramp closing means motorists traveling west on the interstate who exit at Wolf Ledges to go to the McDonald’s will have to travel a little farther to get back on the interstate. The other ramps at Wolf Ledges remain open.
As for the new McDonald’s, Blickle said he doesn’t know of any snags and it’s on schedule.
“I don’t control the schedule. McDonald’s does. They are less inclined to hurry up on one when they already have one operating. It’s not as much of an urgency,” he said. Still, Blickle hopes for a late 2013 opening.