GREEN: Albrecht Inc. and Acme Fresh Market narrowly cleared an initial hurdle Wednesday night in a bid to locate a $28 million supermarket and retail complex on the east side of the Massillon Road Corridor.
Green’s Planning and Zoning Commission spent nearly an hour discussing the request to amend the previously approved general development plan for the Planned Development district at Heritage Crossings before voting 3-2 in favor.
The 75-acre site sits at the northeast corner of Massillon and Graybill roads, extends to Interstate 77 and includes the new Summa Emergency Department.
Albrecht officials hope construction could begin late this year, with the complex opening in 2013.
Planning Commission members Robert Chordar and Dwight Yoder voted against the proposal because the amended Albrecht/Acme concept plan calls for up-close, front-in parking, while Bird-Houk planners and architects of Gahanna recommended last spring that facilities should front the corridor, with parking in the rear.
Jim Nilson, president and treasurer of Albrecht, said the firm created about 50 site plans for the project to show potential tenants. He said they essentially are demanding that parking be in front rather than behind the complex.
The plan proposes a 72,400-square-foot Acme Fresh Market and 31,850 square feet of multi-use commercial tenant space, including restaurants and other retail, such as small shops.
The proposal also includes an attached 8,500-square-foot multi-use building, a separate 11,600-square-foot structure at the site’s southwest corner, another building of similar size to the north and parking areas.
Nilson said a park and outdoor eating area are planned at the north end of the complex.
Joe Albrecht, Jeff Mockbee of CAM architects and Mayor Dick Norton spoke on behalf of the plan. They said the plan before the commission is the one that would attract other businesses to the complex and be aesthetically pleasing to all.
“We listen to our customers,” said Albrecht, the company’s vice president of retail properties.
“I listen to our customers, and they tell me that they want parking in front, not in back.”
Norton said he had no concerns with storefront parking.
“I am OK with it. I support it,” the mayor said. “Trust me. I’ve seen enough renderings to say this would be a very classy, well-run, high-quality [complex].
“I think if you support this, it is going to serve the residents well. They wanted a grocery store, they wanted this magnitude and they love the Acme operation. It’s going to be 28 million bucks, and fortunately they are going to help us bring other restaurants and the kind of retail service we want.”
Chordar said he would like a special meeting with all parties, including Bird-Houk, to discuss the parking issue. He joined planners Craig Babbitt, Bob Garritano, John Beese and alternate Dave Plum in saying they are pleased with the proposed building renderings.
In seconding the motion to recommend that council approve the development plan, Babbitt said the positives of the complex outweigh the negatives concerning the parking.
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