BAZETTA - Construction for a new home improvement store could be under way by June on 22 acres of land along Elm Road.
If the sale is finalized, a vacant structure that previously held Walmart will be demolished to make room for new construction of Menards, a home improvement, building supply store based out of Eau Claire, Wis. The new construction is projected at 245,300 square feet, about 120,000 square feet larger than the existing building.
Officials from Bazetta Township, Trumbull County and Menards gathered at the Bazetta Township administration building Monday to unveil the plans publicly. Officials said discussions have been under way since July.
Menards is a privately held company billed as the nation's third-largest home improvement retailer with more than 270 stores in 14 states, mostly the Midwest. This store would be the farthest east in the chain. Menards has been in business for 50 years.
Tom O'Neil, who handles the company's real estate acquisition, said investment would top $7 million for construction, not including acquisition of the land. He declined to say what the land cost might be, but the parcels, which sit mostly in Bazetta with a small portion in Howland Township, are appraised at about $2.44 million.
An attempt to reach the company listing the property for sale was not successful.
O'Neil said a burgeoning natural gas boom had little to do with the company's plans to locate to Trumbull County.
''I want the store to be successful on day one. I don't want to have to wait for the dollars to come down the road,'' O'Neil said. ''Certainly it (Utica Shale development) will have an impact, but that is an added bonus.''
The new retailer would provide about 150 jobs, about 50 of them full-time with benefits, O'Neil said. Hiring would not begin until closer to the store's opening, targeted for spring 2014.
O'Neil said the company hopes to file some engineering plans with Trumbull County this week. If all goes as planned, demolition would begin early next year.
County officials said there has been no request for a tax abatement, which is the general rule with commercial or retail development.
Because the building is located in townships and not municipalities, there is no local sales or income tax. Property taxes would not generate additional money for local government and schools, but would likely contribute to the existing pot leading to a possible reduction in property taxes for other property owners.
Aside from job creation, Bazetta Township Fiscal Officer Rita Drew said the largest financial benefit for township government would be an estimated $25,000 in demolition and new construction permit fees.
Still, elected officials expressed enthusiasm at the news.
''I am just happy that they have recognized the growth potential in this market,'' said Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard, who attended Monday's gathering.
''We are talking about 50 full-time jobs plus 100 part-time jobs. This is great news for Trumbull County, and looking at the plans, it will be a beautiful addition to Elm Road,'' Trumbull Commissioner Frank Fuda said.