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Dollar General Moving Into Former CVS Location

City’s director of planning and development: Building’s owner made a “lazy decision.”

The 9,000-square-foot, now-vacant former home of is about to get a new tenant.

And city officials are not at all happy about it. 

The building, which recently changed ownership, will now be the future home of Dollar General, a national discount chain. 

City officials began looking to attract a new tenant when to its new home on the site of the a couple blocks away.

Four local tenants — including a local breakfast restaurant, the owner of a “well-established” Lakewood restaurant, a local hardware store and a fitness center — stepped forward.

To no avail. 

“We cultivated these leads, and in spite of that this owner made a lazy decision,” said Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development.

“I don’t understand why, with all the positive thing happening in the downtown, why they would want to go in this direction. These aren’t start-ups. We gave them leads that were well-known businesses in Northeast Ohio.” 

The building’s owner, Sam Barnes, did not return several calls seeking comment.

“Here’s what’s disappointing about this: It’s a lazy decision,” Siley added. “When we got wind of a new owner coming on board, we got excited about this investment in this prime location in downtown Lakewood. 

“We really wanted to find a great tenant, and instead they snubbed their noses at us. The decision to have this tenant lies squarely on their shoulders.”

Ian Andrews, the executive director of , said he’s also disappointed with the news.

“We’d love to see a different tenant in there,” he said. “When you have a private owner and a private tenant, they’re entitled to do whatever they want. It’s a prime opportunity — it’s a prime space.

 “This is just very underwhelming. Very underwhelming.”

Minor renovations to the building’s exterior — including a cleanup of the façade — are slated to go before the city’s architectural board of review on June 14.

chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 12:07 PM
are you telling me that the fact remains that becasue this is a private owner that they get to choose what business goes in next? What if an Adult Book Store came forward? Would the city really allow that to be done to Lakewood? Isn't there an opportunity for the city law department to flex it's muscle in some way to try to convince the owner to go in a different direction? perhaps some small business administration money to assist with a start up business or other funding that would be attractive to the owner and a different tenant? correct me if i am wrong, but isnt there a dollar general on sloane avenue? Just knowing that the city does not embrace this business to come in should be a warning signal to Dollar General that maybe it should reconsider it's decision to move forward....
Jerry Meltzer June 08, 2012 at 12:36 PM
The city should make it difficult to give the owner approval of the architectual plans. Maybe they will see the error of their ways and a local tenant will move in.
Kelly Rae Griffith June 08, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Is the Family Dollar store still moving forward as well?
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 12:42 PM
but then it becomes a pissing match between the city and the owner, charges of discrimination or harrassment will ne filed and then before you know it, the building remains empty for 3 years and all possible tenants have moved on to sites out of lakewood....city needs to be swift and firm....
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Kelly, last i read was that family dollar was to be constructing a brand new facility towards the east end or pehaps was set to move into the old drug mart location????
Peter Grossetti June 08, 2012 at 01:10 PM
@chris - When a resident sells his/her home (a legal private transcation), should he/she need to get The City's approval on the person it is being sold to?
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 01:28 PM
@Peter....Look, I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to have absolute knowledge in this arena...Certainly, even you can understand the absurdity of your comment (no offense intended) A homeowner is not a business and certainly would not have the capability of sellig their home to another party that would be setting up said business from their home...even if a homeowner opted to set up an illegal business and the city discovered this, they would shut it down. So, to answer your question: No, I would not expect a homeowner to have to get approval from the city. Now, in reference to a private business selling to whomever they choose, again, even you could see the issue if the owner were to sell to a company that had a horrible financial past or was doing business that involved an adult nature such as pornography or tabacco products. really, isnt this abou protecting the common interests of our citizens and providing them with relevant and useful enterprises within our city? Certainly there is nothing completely wrong with a dollar store but I think the city is making the statement that perhaps the owner could have further investigated the potential of these other enterprises as having provided a long erm service to our citizens. one that may be better suited in a high foo traffic district such as the downtaown area....dollar stores dont strike me as being a huge part of that area...no offense to the dollar store! Bottom line: I guess we all cant have our dream, right?
Bill Trentel June 08, 2012 at 02:49 PM
The Zoning code dictates how each property can de used in the city (commercial and residential) and that is what the City (Law Department) can enforce. Each zoning designation has a list of allowed uses any other use would not be allowed without a variance. General merchandise retail must be an allowed use for that location. Adult entertainment would not be. Manufacturing would not be... You can write a strict zoning code with a small number of allowed uses and require variances from every new business. But your code quickly becomes useless, because once you give a variance to Mom and Pop's Tofu Burgers you would need to allow McDonald's too or fight them in court which you would probably lose. You can regulate how it is used, not who uses it.
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 02:58 PM
@Bill......I definitely understand how that works.....it is unfortunate, in this casse for the city. The bottom line appears that if the owner wants to sell to dollar store than no one can really stop it. the only avenue is for the city to perhaps thighten the screws a bit on the new owners coming in to invest a considerable amount of up front money to make the place a bit shinier and appropriate for the area...then the hope would be that it would be too costly and they would pull out...not likely to happen but one never knows!
Chris June 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Chris - The reason an adult book store would not be allowed is because it is not allowed based on Lakewood's codes, the dollar store on the other hand is perfectly legal to have and therefore there is nothing stopping the building owner from leasing to them. Now if you want to make dollar stores in general illegal in Lakewood they could do that, and it would prevent this, however doing so after interest in one is show would open the city up for a law suit, not to mention negate other dollar stores already in Lakewood (family dollar, Dollar Tree (on slone)). There really isnt much the law department can do unless they are or in threat of breaking a law. In this case it is the Planning and Development department which has to do its best to steer the owner in to a business that would be good for the city, but in the end it is the business owner's decision, and in this case, like Dru said, he just made a lazy, easy, choice. Certainly the city did everything it could to persuade the owner to go another rout and it didn't work. Now they are making it well known that they disprove, maybe the bad press could sway the owner in another direction. Not likely, but it cant hurt.
Judy Towner June 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM
More "chain" stores do not improve the face of Downtown Lakewood one bit. All it does is cheapen the look that a great many people are trying to achieve. We need to have stores that will bring people TO Lakewood to see what unique shops and restaurants we have here, not to shop somewhere that they already have in their own communities. How many dollar type stores can Lakewood Support?
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 07:07 PM
ahhhhh, the great deabte goes on. Thanks to all of you for being mature and civil, there are some threads that just turn into hate exchanges....the city will do what it can and what it has to do in the end. We all ust need to work together and keep an open mind, right?
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 07:10 PM
apparently as many as the private owners of business who want to sell/lease to these companies.....many agree with you judy but hands are tied.....what to do?
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 08:05 PM
is the quaker steak really that close in proximity to housing???? seemed like it would be at least 300-500 feet at least away from the nearest residence??? I am just curious, not contesting you Mr. Fed up! Oh,and certainly not defending the Quaker steak either, it is destined to go the road of the IHOP, if you ask me.
Alexandra June 08, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I can make an easy choice, I choose NOT to shop there. I try hard to support locally, including Cleveland based, shops. I have little interest in these dollar stores. Rather pay for quality over quantity...
chris olszewski June 08, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I will do that. This is most unfortunate
Steve June 09, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Try living on Madison & Larchmont-Mckinley, on a friday or sat. nite. No peace until 3:00am. There is a noise ordinance here in Lakewood but never , ever enforced on motor cycles. They never get pulled over and ticketed even though you and I can hear them 1/2 mile away Wonder why?
The original Bill June 09, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Chris you were correct with your first observation. Quaker Steak is not going "right next door to residential housing." It is going into an existing commercial structure that was there long before Fed-up even moved into their house which can't be any closer than 300 feet away with a Church between.
The original Bill June 09, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Across the street is the building that houses Subway, Dominoes H & R Block, a Dry Cleaner and the now moved CVS. Next door is the Lakewood Masonic Temple. WTF are you talking about?
The original Bill June 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
You people kill me. You buy a house that is near commercial property on Detroit Ave and when some developers come along that want to sink a ton of money into their property to make it look nicer and then bring in tenants to fill the long vacant stores you whine and complain about it. If you don't like it sell your damn house and move to Avon. The rest of us lifelong Lakewoodites welcome any new development because we know that new development is a good thing for Lakewood.
The original Bill June 09, 2012 at 03:49 PM
And they are not going to come for my street as I live in a residential area over 1,000 feet from Detroit Ave. When I was looking for a home in Lakewood I chose not to live close to any commercial property. 95% of Lakewood fits into that category. Apparently your house doesn't. There is no reason for the 95% to lose out for your feelings.
Patch reader June 09, 2012 at 03:51 PM
10 Things To Never Buy At A Dollar Store www.savingadvice.com/articles/2012/04/05/109927_10-things-to-never-buy-at-a-dollar-store.html
Nathan June 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM
I'm with you Bill. Nothing is perfect but I love this city and I love what's been happening.
Nathan June 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM
And I say this as a lifelong Lakewoodite.
Allison June 11, 2012 at 01:42 PM
That really stinks that a dollar store will be moving in. It's unfortunate. I guess it's better than NOTHING being there... but I will never shop there! Just like CVS. I never shopped there before, and I won't be shopping at the new one! I still support Drug Mart because they are family-owned and always have what I need! :-) As for Quaker Steak, honestly, it'll be nice to not have to drive out to Valley View and support another city over ours! I like their food... what can I say?
Dudley B. June 13, 2012 at 06:26 PM
What am I missing here? The city of Lakewood has zoning codes in place defining allowable use of the property. The owner of the property has followed the law established by Lakewood by leasing/selling the property to an allowable business. He has done what the city instructed/required him to do. The problem appears to be with the city not having the proper zoning codes in effect. For anyone to suggest the city strong arm the new tennant by overzealous enforcement of building codes or to have the architectural review board make it difficult for the tennant to get building approval is ridiculous. That would be discrimatory and illegal. Do we really want our government that have that kind of power?
Judy Towner June 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Dudley makes a valid point, but someone from the city should drive down Madison starting at the east end. I know we're discussing Detroit and CVS and the like, but you only need that drive to see how much the city ignores what is going on on Madison. There used to be a "Madison District" with some eclectic shops and now there is a gold store, a hip-hop cell phone store which has terrible sineage, and don't forget the new custom gun holders and 7 out of 10 storefronts with cedar faced, brown painted fronts of which 4 out of 10 are empty. I've lived in the same place for 34 years and have seen Madison turn into a total mess. I had a business in Lakewood, now closed, and we jumped through hoops when it came to our signs and the ones on Madison paint them in windows, hand make them or hang banners. Think the city cares enough to bother them for weeks? Guess not, still there. Landlords should be held accountable for the appearance of their budildings regardless if they have a tenant.
Judy Towner June 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM
On Detroit Avenue, at least the groups LakewoodAlive and the Downtown Business Alliance care enough to make sure the city AND the building owners AND the shop owners keep up their property as evidenced in part by the Curtis Block that they have taken upon themselves to keep the windows clean and decorated with current Lakewood events. Unfortunately rents in the downtown area are pretty hefty and the only ones that can afford to move in are the chains. I've heard the term "Downtown Lakewood Historic District" and then you have Dollar Store. They have not been around long enough to be considered "historic". On another note, Applebee's on the east end? I thought those were relegated to malls.

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