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Wednesday

August 2014

20

Plans for Meijer store moving forward in Sussex

Village of Sussex – Although there have been a few delays, plans for a big box Meijer supermarket at the southeast corner of Highways 164 and K are moving forward, officials say.

After a year-long series of exchanges at the municipal level, Grand Rapids, Mich.,-based Meijer in October purchased a 40-acre parcel within what had been the town of Lisbon. The property has since been annexed into Sussex's corporate limits.

Initially, there had been talk of Meijer opening the Sussex store at some point in 2015, but those plans appear to have been pushed back to 2016.

The 191,350-square-foot Meijer store in Sussex is to include a gas station. Meijer paid $5.25 million for the property.

Village Administrator Jeremy Smith said preliminary work – including site grading and installing stormwater infrastructure – is underway at the site.

"But they are still working on some of the permitting issues with the (Department of Natural Resources)," Smith said of the state agency. "I think that's pushed the project timeline back just a little."

Late last week, Frank Guglielmi, senior director of communications with Meijer, said he was not prepared to make an immediate announcement on the Sussex location – or any of the other sites proposed in Southeastern Wisconsin.

"We are preparing to make an announcement about our sites in Wisconsin," Guglielmi said in an email. "I'll need to get that completed before I can get into detail about any individual sites."

Lengthy permitting process

From his understanding, Smith said work at the Meijer site should pick up steam once the permitting process has been satisfied.

A number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have been involved in the Meijer proposal in Sussex since plans were first announced. The property had been a "suspected area" for wetlands, and the finding has resulted in a higher degree of scrutiny than normally takes place on a construction site.

The DNR, meanwhile, is requiring Meijer obtain a Chapter 30 Permit because two stormwater control ponds have been planned at the site. Additionally, another permit, known as NR 216, is being required to satisfy concerns of ground erosion and stormwater control plans.

The Sussex store is one of more than a half-dozen spots announced as Meijer, a longtime staple in Michigan, makes its foray into the crowded Milwaukee-area grocery market.

Next year, Meijer anticipates opening stores in Grafton, Kenosha, Oak Creek and Wauwatosa. In 2016, stores are slated to open in Greenfield, Janesville, Sussex and Waukesha.

Speaking at a business leaders' luncheon in March, Hank Meijer, co-CEO, said the company plans to open between 10 and a dozen new stores each year after the initial roll-out in 2016.

Meijer has a presence in five states, with more than 200 stores in operation. In addition to Michigan, the retailer is located in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Meijer said most of the company's growth plans, moving forward, are focused in Wisconsin.

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