Construction on the Aldi and Hobby Lobby locations has been underway since spring, with an expected opening of fall 2019, according to Michael Oestreich, senior vice president of development and leasing at TLM Ltd., who represents the property owner.
Housed in the former Sears Grand location at 6221 SOM Center Road, the two national retailers will share about 86,000 square feet of retail space. Hobby Lobby will take up a majority of the space.
Though construction has continued to progress, Oestreich said it hasn’t been without natural problems.
“It has been a challenging spring and summer with the rain, but we’re getting there,” he noted. “Storefronts are going up on Hobby Lobby and the interiors are coming along. Aldi is self-performing their construction work.”
As for why the two chains selected Solon, Oestreich said there are a few reasons.
“They both conducted their own market studies and through our outreach, we were able to secure them,” he explained. “They both felt like this was an area they wanted to be in and have additional coverage in. Here, you have an attractive population base in terms of demographics and income levels. So, that is what attracted those tenants.”
Since Sears Grand, which previously was a Kmart, closed in December 2014, the space has been vacant. By adding the new retailers, both Oestreich and Solon Mayor Eddy Kraus expressed excitement about the redevelopment.
“It was empty for such a long time and it was a total eyesore,” Kraus said. “So, I think this will definitely help and give people confidence that these old strips and properties can be redeveloped. It helps us grow and bring in new people.”
Oestreich added, “They’re transforming this property from an old, tired and empty building that is something that is physically attractive. Everything is going to be rejuvenated. We did all of this without having to plow a new field. This was an adaptive reuse.”
Some of the new physical attributes of the property include LED technology in the parking lot, a new monument sign, refreshed landscaping and green space improvements to help with water drainage, Oestreich added.
As for the community impact, Oestreich said he has high hopes.
“We think it’s going to be an asset to the community and a place where people will gather and shop,” he said. “We’re excited about the future. We’ve owned this property for a long time and look forward to our continued ownership. That is why we invested so heavily into this.”