Land at Lakefront on market

No Discount Drug planned

COLUMBIANA — Several acres of land at the former Lakefront golf course property on state Route 164 are back on the selling block, now that Discount Drug Mart has reportedly opted not to locate there.

City Manager Lance Willard said the city has reached out to Discount over the last year following the passage of the company’s liquor option on the Mahoning County election ballot last November, but heard little.

Willard said that two weeks ago, after he reached out to the developer, he was told that the project is not moving forward, but exactly why remains unknown.

“I wasn’t given one specific reason for them not coming other than it was a complex project. Many things had to come together for it to work,” he said.

The property is now listed for sale by the current owner, which — according to records through the Mahoning County auditor’s office — is Hempfield Partners Inc. of Pittsburgh. Hempfield acquired the property back in 2007.

Discount Drug Mart had approached the city a few years ago showing an interest in the former golf course and desiring to construct a building on the property that would take up about 28,000 square feet and feature a variety of services such as groceries, fresh produce and other general merchandise in addition to the pharmacy.

The developer for the proposed project was Giltz and Associates of Canton, and Discount would have leased space from Giltz for the local store, had the project gone through.

Discount was founded in 1969 and headquartered in Minerva. As of last year there were 73 stores in the state and all sell beer and wine, which is why the chain sought a liquor permit for the local property.

A ballot issue was required because that particular precinct of Columbiana was dry. Following unsuccessful attempts at site-specific permits in 2014 and 2015, the chain sought a precinct-wide liquor option for carryout beer, wine and mixed beverage sales and Sunday sales at the 2016 election.

The option was put before Mahoning County voters in that precinct only, which was precinct 4 Beaver Township and passed by more than 50 percent of the vote.

Had the option failed, the two other liquor permit holders in that precinct, The Wine Connection and Sparkle Market, would have lost their permits, although they would have had the option to reapply for site-specific liquor options on a future election ballot to continue offering carryout beer and wine.

The Discount Drug Mart chain has also shown an interest in property in Lisbon, and actually purchased the former Taste of Country restaurant property more than a year ago. Although the restaurant has since been torn down the property on state Route 45 has yet to be developed.

A state liquor license sought by the company for the property remains pending.