A Family Dollar store that was possibly slated to pair with a new McDonald’s on the site of a former church will not be built and the fast-food restaurant’s plans will be delayed.
A sign last month on South Main Street near Thornton Street was up temporarily until officials took it down, saying it was too soon. 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.
The Akron restaurant company plans to build a McDonald’s on the block, closer to the Thornton Street area of the property.
With Family Dollar pulling out, the McDonald’s is scheduled for 2014 at the earliest, said John Blickle, owner/operator of the franchise that owns 20 McDonald’s in Summit and Portage counties.
Blickle had hoped to start construction in late fall with a late 2013 opening. Family Dollar officials had said they had the site under contract, but it was still early in the process.
Blickle said his new McDonald’s is still slated for that site, but there are other factors outside his control that need to be studied.
“It would appear it would not happen in the 2013 construction season. It’s off our 2013 plan and moved to 2014. We still like that site and hope to be there soon. Family Dollar wanted to be able to proceed in a timely basis and that wasn’t going to happen,” Blickle said.
Family Dollar officials were not available for comment.
The McDonald’s would replace a nearby drive-through only at the Wolf Ledges/Interstate 76-77 interchange. The new 5,000-square-foot-restaurant would include a dining room and would cost more than $1.5 million to build.
In December, the westbound entrance ramp of I-76/77 at Wolf Ledges closed for safety reasons. The ramp closing means motorists traveling west on the interstate who go to the McDonald’s will have to travel a little farther on side roads to get back on the interstate. The other ramps at Wolf Ledges remain open.
However, the Ohio Department of Transportation is studying the highway exchanges at South Main, South Broadway, Grant Street and Wolf Ledges, said Brent Kovacs, public information officer for ODOT District 4.
There are new configuration studies being completed about how to redo the highly congested South Main and South Broadway exchanges, Kovacs said. ODOT officials are looking at three designs and working with local, state and federal officials.
Kovacs said it’s too early to know whether there would be a need for property acquisition near the interchange for the plans to go forward.
The project is in such preliminary phases that any work would require several years, Kovacs said. The project has been on the to-do list for many years and has been stopped before for lack of funding.
Kovacs said once the South Main and South Broadway exchange is complete, the intention is that the Grant Street and Wolf Ledges highway ramps from I-76/77 would be closed.