Giant Eagle announced this afternoon it wants Strongsville to be the site of its first built-from-the-ground-up Market District store in northeast Ohio.
The company told city officials today it wants to amend the plans it submitted late last year for a on the property on Pearl Road.
Instead, it wants to build a Market District store -- an upscale, 110,000-square-foot grocery store that includes a restaurant, pharmacy and a vast array of prepared foods.
"This is going to be incredible," Jim Chickini, a Giant Eagle vice president, told city officials Tuesday afternoon. "These (stores) are special. There will only be a handful of these."
There is currently only one other Market District in Ohio -- in Upper Arlington, an affluent community near Columbus -- and five in the nation. The other four are in Pittsburgh.
Giant Eagle officials wouldn't speculate yet on the cost of the project, but said the shell of a building alone would cost $10 million.
The store would create 150 to 250 new full or part-time jobs, in addition to the employees at the existing store outside .
The company would close that store once the Market District opened.
It would also build a Get Go gas station, either on the same property or nearby, Chickini said.
"For the first time in more than a decade, we hope to have a grocery store on Pearl Road," Mayor Tom Perciak said.
It's not a sure thing, however. Part of the Pearl Road site is zoned residential, and rezoning any parcel from residential to any other use must be approved by voters, both citywide and in the ward -- in this case, Ward 2.
City Council has already placed the rezoning on the ballot for a March vote.
And a campaign for that vote is under way. , whose son, Nick, is providing legal representation for the local property owners, said he was so impressed by the project he has volunteered to run a campaign to get the rezoning approved.
"I think this is a project that's going to make a huge difference in our city," Mike Catan said. "In my opinion, we're creating a secondary shopping district in Strongsville, which is what we need."
Some officials said they believe the store would revitalize the south end of Pearl Road, which currently has a number of vacant storefronts.
City and company officials will host meetings with the public to answer questions about the project. Plans currently show two driveways onto Pearl Road, one with a traffic signal.
Giant Eagle has already vowed to provide landscaping and other features to buffer nearby residents from any noise and lighting.
"Giant Eagle is sensitive to the needs of our residential neighbors," Perciak said.
The company says its Market District stores are inspired by open-air European markets and a passion for food. The stores feature food from all over the world, in-store cooking demonstration, celebrity appearances and daily advice from employees.
Departments include gourmet cheeses, a sweet shop, housewares, health and beauty and a bakery, as well as meat, seafood and specialty foods.