The State Road Acme project
Acme Fresh #10, a 60-year-old supermarket located at 2226 State Rd., is expanding from 30,000 to 52,000 square feet to accommodate a new bakery, floral and prepared food departments, a pharmacy and specialty meat case.
The $8.5 million project, subsidized in part by the city, broke ground last May and will likely be complete this year, said Acme President Steve Albrecht
The proposed Portage Crossing project
Portage Crossing, a proposed 256,000-square-foot retail center, would be constructed on about 25 acres at Portage Trail where the former State Road Shopping Center once stood, according to Cuyahoga Falls Planning and Zoning Director Fred Guerra.
The city purchased the defunct center in 2008 and demolished it in 2009, with land acquisition and initial investment expenses totaling $11 million.
Groundbreaking for Portage Crossing was slated for last summer, but the project -- which is expected to create 400 to 600 new jobs -- has hit several deal finalization, project design and land acquisition delays.
According to the Falls-News Press, Cuyahoga Falls' net investment in Portage Crossing is $6.4 million and the developer's net investment is $42.1 million. For Acme, the city's net investment is $1.27 million and the developer's net investment is $9.86 million.
Since January, Albrecht has written and distributed letters to Falls Mayor Don Robart and City Council questioning whether Portage Crossing, and its planned 92,000-square-foot Giant Eagle store, would infringe upon his grocery business.
Albrecht also aired complaints regarding the city's multi-million dollar investment in Stark's planned retail center, saying the mayor verbally promised Albrecht would receive the same incentives on a proportional basis that Portage Crossing has received.
In an April 8 letter, Albrecht wrote:
Please find attached, a workbook modeling a funding structure we believe is consistent with your promise to equalize on a proportionate basis the City’s funding of our re-development project with the funding provided for the Portage Crossing re-development.
This parity analysis isbased on the Amended and Restated Contractfor Sale of Land for Private Redevelopment by and between the City of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Portage Crossing LLC passed by City Council on June 25, 2012.
We understand this agreement has since been amended — several times - in various ways, such as to provide for a $70,000 per year electric subsidy, an additional developer subsidy of $129,000 based on a movie ticket tax, etc. Our parity funding model will, therefore, require your careful review to assure that it is in full compliance with your parity standard.
In an April 10 email to the Falls News-Press, Robart refuted several of Albrecht's statements, saying, "As far as I'm concerned, the Acme case is closed. His (April 8) letter is fraught with errors and his persistence in trying to leverage additional money out of the city is unconscionable."
For more on the story, refer to the letters between Albrecht and Robart attached in .pdf form to this post.