BRADLEY — The long-anticipated move of Menards from its present Bradley site to its new location — immediately south of its current home — moved one step closer to reality when its plans were OK’d by a village board committee.
On Tuesday, the Bradley Planning & Zoning Commission unanimously approved the company’s special use permit and the matter will head to the Bradley Village Board on June 14 for final adoption.
Opened in 1994 at 1260 Christine Drive, the company has upgraded its store prototype numerous times. The proposed new 202,990-square-foot store will be placed at 870 Christine Drive, almost directly east of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store, 860 N. Kinzie Ave.
The Menards plans have been in the discussion stage with Bradley dating back to January 2019. However, the store had been put somewhat on the back burner by the company and then the pandemic brought it to a halt.
The Eau Claire, Wis.-based company is now re-engaged with the new store, to be located on approximately 26 acres. Nick Brenner, a real estate representative for Menards, who spoke to the board via Zoom, did not state when the project would begin, assuming it gains its needed village board approval.
Brenner did note that the company would plan to retain possession of the existing store and use it as a self-storage location, at least temporarily.
The proposed new Menards would have nearly 4 acres of property immediately west of its planned 400-vehicle parking lot. The 4 acres would be divided into two smaller plots and be available for other business development.
Brenner said the company has not yet moved to lease the out-lot property. He said getting the new store built and opened is the first order of business.
In addition to the nearly 203,000-square-foot store, the property would also include 40,475 square feet for an “accessory warehouse.” The area would also include a garden center and a outdoor yard area.
Menards officials had previously stated the existing site located on 20 acres east of the Armour Road and Illinois 50 [Kinzie Avenue] intersection does not have the space needed for the company to compete in today’s highly-competitive home improvement retail world.
Brenner noted the new location would also include a online/special order pickup area in the back of the store. This feature, he said, will allow for the convenience for a shopper to go through the yard gate and pick up the merchandise without needing to go through the main store area.
He noted it’s an effort to compete with online vendors, and such a convenience is critical in to today’s home improvement retail world.