By Kalea Hall
A familiar billboard topped with an ever-changing mannequin family on U.S. Route 224 has come down to make way for a new GetGo Cafe + Market.
Soon, other buildings also will come down.
A demolition permit for the property was issued by the Mahoning County Building Inspection department to prepare for building the GetGo at the corners of U.S. Route 224, Southern Boulevard and California Avenue.
“Demolition is taking place as we speak,” said Bill Kutlick of Kutlick Realty, who brokered the deal. “There were a lot of moving parts to this.”
The Vindicator first reported on the redevelopment of the busy corner of the township in 2014.
“We continue to finalize plans for the California Avenue and Southern Boulevard site and look forward to beginning construction in the coming weeks,” said Jannah Jablonowski, Giant Eagle spokeswoman, in a statement sent to The Vindicator. “We are excited to bring the GetGo experience to life, and believe that marquee Cafe + Market offerings like our expansive made-fresh-to-order foods and customizable hot and cold beverages will resonate with our Boardman-area customers.”
In 2014, the township zoning board of appeals approved a permit required for the Pittsburgh-based company to operate a fueling station in the township. The company then had to go through the township’s site-plan review, which looks at landscape, parking and storm-water management.
“They are moving along well,” said Krista Beniston, township zoning director. “They just have a few more small details to get in order.”
The company also had to work with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the county on the traffic flow in and out of the gas station, cafe and market.
ODOT permitted one right-turn-only lane on Route 224 eastbound for the project. Travelers driving westward on 224 will not have access via 224.
The township, which maintains California Avenue, had no concern about traffic on that street, which will have an entrance, township Administrator Jason Loree said.
Mahoning County Engineer Patrick T. Ginnetti said although he has not signed off on any formal plans for the Southern Boulevard entrance, he is not concerned about traffic on that side because the business will be “set back far enough.”
Construction on the new GetGo can begin after a zoning permit from the township and building permit from the county are received.
Eleftherios Hazimihalis, one of the property owners where the GetGo is going, said there will be five buildings demolished within the next 30 to 60 days for the project.
“I certainly think that corridor will be much improved,” Hazimihalis said. “It will improve that tremendously. We have been working with them [Giant Eagle] for a long time to get where we are today.”
A demolition permit also was received for the now-shuttered Kmart at 1209 Boardman-Canfield Road, another bustling area in the township. The store closed last year.
“Our perspective is we want to see positive redevelopment,” Loree said. “As long as its helping attract good businesses, we would be happy to have folks there.”
Kutlick also brokered a deal to bring in a new Panera Bread near Ashley Furniture inside Tiffany Square Plaza.
Covelli Co. of Warren, the largest Panera franchise owner, is the developer. Covelli officials did not wish to comment at this time on the new Panera construction and how it will affect other locations, including the Panera inside the Shops at Boardman Park.
The new Panera will include a patio and drive-thru. Plans were submitted to the township for site-plan review, Beniston said.
“This is the first step,” she said.
Kutlick called the Tiffany Square Plaza a “key location” in the township. “The area is continuing to grow, and retailers continue to look at it.”
Kutlick Realty is in contact with several potential tenants for the space where TGI Fridays Restaurant & Bar was located next to Tiffany Square on Tiffany Boulevard.
Also in Boardman, Kutlick brought in five new businesses to a property across from Boardman Plaza, including a new restaurant, Little Greek Fresh Grill.
In Trumbull County, Kutlick said a deal has be signed for a new Aldi grocery store at state Route 82 and Elm Road.
“We are pretty busy,” Kutlick said.
Contributor: Staff reporter Jordyn Grzelewski