August 20, 2014

Elyria
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Wal-Mart eyes Vermilion Twp. for Supercenter

VERMILION TWP. — Wal-Mart must still dot a lot of i’s and cross a lot of t’s before a new store opens on state Route 60, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t looking to that for the future.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company is in negotiations to purchase a 37-acre plot east of state Route 60 in hopes of bringing a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter to the area, said Ron Mosby, senior manager for public affairs with Wal-Mart in Ohio.

“Nothing has been confirmed and future plans are really predicated on how negotiations go,” Mosby said. “But we are very interested in the area and feel it is best suited for our customers.”

The proposed store will sit about one mile north of the state Route 2 interchange.

It is close to another location on Route 60 that was considered in 2002 for a Wal-Mart store, but the proposal failed to go forward after it was presented to the township trustees.

Mosby calls this location a better one from a strategic standpoint in that is better suited for their customers.

There is no timetable for the store. But Mosby said current plans call for it to be more than 155,000 square feet and carry general merchandise as well as groceries. There also will be a tire and lube express center, vision center, pharmacy and bakery.

It could employee between 275 and 325 people.

First, the company needs to get approval form the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as 1.83 acres of the property is in federally controlled wetlands in the Huron-Vermilion watershed, according to a public notice submitted to the Erie County Board of Commissioners.

Wal-Mart wants permission to fill almost a full acre for the construction of the building, parking lots and associated infrastructure.
In addition, Dick Simon, township zoning inspector, said the company still has not presented his office with an application detailing the plans.

Simon said the area already is zoned for commercial development.

A store in Vermilion Township would strengthen the company’s Ohio presence that in June included 104 supercenters, 37 discount stores, 30 Sam’s Clubs and five distribution centers, according to the company’s Web site.

More than 52,000 Ohio residents work for Wal-Mart.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.