LORAIN — The design for an upcoming Meijer grocery store was approved Tuesday afternoon at a monthly meeting of the city’s Design Review Board.
At the meeting, the design for the approximately 159,000-square-foot grocery store and a 3,735-square-foot convenience store at the site of the former Super K-Mart at the corner of Leavitt and Cooper Foster Park roads were approved unanimously.
“We’ve torn down the K-Mart and it’s a sea of asphalt out there,’’ Lanie West, a project director from Cincinnati-based design firm Woolpert, said.
West said the company plans to use the existing retention basin that’s on the property while providing additional landscaping and irrigation, including a shield of trees near the docking area.
“We are going to propose four future out lots and they would come in for separate approvals,” she said, noting the exterior of the Meijer buildings will be various shades of tans and beiges with blue accents.
Meijer real estate manager Cris Jones said the out lots are for outside businesses, such as restaurants, to put additional locations on the site, but they will have to go through their own design process.
Jones said the convenience store will serve a gas station that will have 10 positions to pump gas as well as a loyalty program.
Jones also pointed out there’s a lot of variation to the front of the building to make it more than just a long front line.
“The vestibules are the highest points – the “fresh” and “home” sides of the store noting grocery or home goods,” he said. “We also have tenant panels on the front of the building as we get a Starbucks or a bank. We also use different colors across the front and we also go in and out throughout the front to give it some more articulation. There’s a lot of light and windows in the vestibule areas.”
Gary Fisher, the chairman of the Design Review Board, said he liked the idea of the company reducing the parking spots from about 1,000 to 500 among other things.
“I like the idea that you’re taking out some of the ocean of parking out there,” he said. “It’s really a nice presentation, and it will be a nice addition. It’s certainly nicer than what has been there and really what was there.”
Board member Joyce Ferlic Arredondo said there had been unsuccessful attempts to get Meijer to come to Lorain in the past, so she was pleased to see it moving forward this time.
“We did try to get them in here a couple of decades ago so I’m glad to see that you’re finally coming,” she said. “We welcome you, and I’m very happy with what you’ve proposed here.”
Board member Andrea Neal said she felt the design was “very thorough and professional” and said she did “not have a problem with what they were submitting and proposing.”
Jones said it likely would be the fall before the design is finalized and the necessary permits would be on file so the company would then be ready to begin construction when the weather breaks in the spring.
“It takes about a year to build and a lot of that work is on the interior because we have a lot of food preparation areas, a lot of cabinetry and build out within the store,” he said.