By Jim Newell
The Orion Township Planning Commission gave preliminary approval for special land use request, with conditions, for Meijer ORI during the commission’s meeting on Wednesday.
Meijer corporation will have to seek site variances from the Orion Township Zoning Board of Appeals, but planning commissioners’ approval put the grocery retailer a step closer to building a new store in Orion Township.
The new Meijer store is proposed for 1025 S. Lapeer Rd. at the former Kmart location in the Lake Orion Plaza at the southeast corner of Clarkston and Lapeer roads.
Ashley Mack, real estate manager for Meijer, told the planning commission that the store would generate between 100-150 news jobs.
The new development is proposed to focus heavily on groceries with a limited amount of general merchandise, Mack said.
“We are excited for the potentially opportunity to launch a brand new store format here in Orion Township,” Mack said. “Our goal is to provide the community with the same convenience, value and service our supercenters offer, but in a smaller, more exciting format.”
The building will be near 90,000 square feet in size.
“Which is considerably smaller than a typical Meijer supercenter,” Mack said, adding that the Meijer in Oxford is 185,000 square feet, “while Auburn Hills is closer to 215,000 square feet.”
The new Orion Township store will focus on produce, fresh bakery items, deli, a full assortment of beer, wine and liquor, Mack said.
She added that Meijer identified the Orion Township site “because of several positive demographic and economic factors. In addition to the overall site access, existing utilities, our proposed use is consistent with the building’s and township’s master plan.”
One necessary variance that the planning commission and its consultants noted was that the site requires 450 parking spaces for a building the size that Meijer plans to build. Meijer is proposing 285 parking spaces. Overflow parking would be in the Planet Fitness and smaller tenant parking areas, planning commission Secretary Joe St. Henry noted in an April 13 site walk report.
According to site plan documents, the main store of the development is proposed to be 89,962 square feet. Mejier would construct a new building on the site and include some updated landscaping enhancement.
Meijer submitted a special land use and site plan application, dated March 24, 2021, to Orion Township.
Grand Rapids-based Meijer is family-owned and has 253 stores across six states with more than 70,000 employees, Mack said.
Ed Boutrous, owner and founder of the Boutrous Companies in Lake Orion, owns and manages the Lake Orion Plaza. Boutrous did confirm to The Lake Orion Review that he has a contract with Meijer for the property.
The hope is to open the new Meijer store in 2022.
The Lake Orion Review will have updates on this development as they become available.