Meijer wants build a 200,000-square-foot store at the southwest corner of 56th Street and Keystone Avenue in a project that would dramatically recast a section of one of the city's busiest commercial corridors.
The Michigan-based retailer has filed plans with the city to rezone nearly an acre along East 56th Street just north of the Lockhart Automotive service and used-car dealership to allow for commercial development. To make way for the store, the Glenstone Apartments 2215 E. 56th St. would be torn down.
However, a site plan for the Meijer project obtained by IBJ shows that the store also would occupy the property currently occupied by Lockhart Automotive on the southwest corner of 56th and Keystone, as well as the Butler Kia dealership at 5500 N. Keystone Ave.
The Metropolitan Development Commission’s hearing examiner was set to hear Meijer’s rezoning request at a meeting on Thursday. But a filing challenging the plans triggered an automatic continuance until Oct. 23.
Representatives for Meijer did not immediately respond to IBJ's request for comment. Officials with Lockhart Automotive and Butler Kia could not immediately be reached.
However, a real estate source familiar with the project told IBJ that the Lockhart, Butler Kia and Glenstone parcels all are under contract by Meijer. Those parcels already are zoned for commercial use, and thus would not require action from the city.
Local resident Kerry Bender, who filed the remonstrance, lives on Hillside Avenue about a block from where the store would be built. She and her neighbors are concerned about the additional traffic Meijer would bring to the area.
“The streets are not set up for the increase in traffic,” she said, “and there’s no proposed screening [separating the neighborhood] from the lighting and noise levels.”
Bender said she’s not necessarily opposed to Meijer’s plans but prefers traffic enter and exit the store from North Keystone Avenue rather than from East 56 Street. Plans show access to the store from both roads.
If the city approves Meijer’s plans, Bender hopes Brouse Avenue—which runs parallel to Keystone a block to the west—will be closed at East 56th Street to prevent traffic from crossing through the neighborhood from Brouse and Kessler Boulevard.
Meijer representatives are set to meet with neighborhood residents at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Glendale Town Center library branch to address concerns, Bender said.
Meijer already has 10 stores in the metropolitan area but appears to want a larger presence in the city.
One of its stores would have anchored a proposed mixed-use project on city-owned land near 16th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets. But developer Opus Development Corp. scrapped its plans last year after it was unable to purchase a series of nearby homes that would have been demolished to makes its plan work.
In May, Meijer opened a store in the Anson development in Whitestown near Interstate 65.