Streetsboro -- Big Dee's Tack and Vet Supply cleared a significant hurdle to redeveloping the old Walmart site on Route 14 earlier this month.
The Streetsboro Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously OK'd a site amendment to the old Walmart property at its Oct. 8 meeting.
The amendment would include interior changes from an old Walmart store to a mix of retail, office and warehousing space, the addition of a dock, a customer pick-up area and exterior paint, which will be tan and darker brown.
According to the Portage County Auditor's GIS website, the sale closed Sept. 3 with Frost Road LLC paying about $1.5 million to Wal-Mart Realty Co. for the 18.2-acre property, which includes the old, 103,432-square-foot Walmart building.
Big Dee's Co-owner Brenda Miavitz said the company, which sells about 25,000 equestrian products both at its retail store on Route 43 and through its catalogue and online operations, is low on space.
According to Miavitz, the company plans to renovate 25,000 square feet of the old Walmart as retail space, another 6,000 square feet as office space, and the remainder will be warehouse area.
With the added space, she said she hopes to expand supplies for dogs, cats and other house pets.
Ted Manfrass, architect on the project, said the customer pick-up area will be located near where Walmart used to perform oil changes on the east side of the building.
"That's typically where customers pick up 50-pound bags of dog food because they don't want to wheel them through the store," he explained.
Streetsboro Planning Director John Cieszkowski said he's requiring directional signs which will help customers find the pick-up area.
Manfrass said there are five parking spaces associated with the pick-up area, plus the drive which would be able to stack up to three vehicles.
Commission Chair Tom Horsfall said landscaping in the parking lot is needed.
"When I look at the area of asphalt out there, I wonder if you would consider putting some kind of landscaping in there in perhaps a year," he said.
Miavitz said she plans to landscape the lot but wants to wait to do so.
"We would like to see one or maybe two outlots," she said. "At the time we sell those off, we would want some to do landscaping. I'd like to put it off until we come back to planning."
Manfrass said the business would like to delay landscaping until it's had some opportunity to sell the outlots because if landscaping is done first, it's possible the work would have to be redone, based on the parking needs for the outlots.
"We only want to do it once," he said of the landscaping.
Miavitz agreed to submit a landscaping plan by January 2016, whether or not the outlots are sold.
"If nothing happens, they're going to present a plan to do something at that point," said Jerome Pavlick, a commission member.
The move should eventually create an additional 15 to 20 jobs for the community, according to Streetsboro Economic Development Director Bill Bishilany.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens