BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — After months of speculation regarding a new Monnette’s Market in uptown Maumee, the locally owned grocer has submitted a formal offer to purchase property in the 200 block of Conant Street. The proposal, which was submitted to the city on February 2, was discussed in open session during the February 5 Maumee City Council meeting. Monnette’s has offered to pay $306,000 for the city-owned property, which is $100,000 over the auditor’s appraised value of $207,400. “We think this is a great location,” said real estate broker Keith Brown, who represents Marc Monnette. “We did look at a lot of locations in Maumee, but it always came back to that location because of the proximity to Perrysburg and he (Marc Monnette) really needs to be as far away as he can from his Glendale store.” With 500 customers a day expected to shop at the store, Brown is confident that it will bring extra foot traffic to other Maumee businesses and raise the quality of life for residents. With the proposal, Monnette’s is seeking a 90-day period to conduct traffic and project feasibility studies and to review environmental reports and other documents related to the property. Monnette’s would also pursue some type of tax abatement incentive program, which would likely include a tax abatement on the building. The land value, income tax and sales taxes, however, would not be included in any type of abatement program and the schools would be made whole, said city administrator John Jezak. Monnette’s employs 30 to 40 people, with a payroll of $400,000 to $500,000 annually. Employees are primarily high school and college students. Preliminary renderings estimate that the store size would be 7,000 to 9,000 square feet, which requires 35 to 45 parking spaces plus spaces for employees. The business would also request a liquor license to sell beer and wine. Maumee City Council will host a public forum on the issue prior to voting on the proposal. A meeting date for the forum has not yet been announced, but it will likely be held in a venue larger than council chambers. Two years ago, city leaders considered developing the property into a park; but last month, council members voted to remove the issue from the Parks and Recreation Committee. The question of business or green space was discussed during a forum in December of 2015 when a developer proposed a multi-story building with apartments and businesses. At that time, public support favored a park and the issue was sent to the committee. Council member and committee chair Tracey Elmore said the issue has already been decided. “Correct me if I’m wrong because I was not on council at the time, but this vote did not state that it would be reversed if another offer came along in the meantime,” she said. “This action definitely took the property off the market and it was no longer for sale, period.” Resident Janet Jones, who also favors a park, questioned the reasoning for not pursuing the park for two years. “The citizens spoke out as to what they saw as the best utilization of the space. The lack of action from the city does not negate the vote,” she said. Council member John Boellner disagreed. “Any law that’s been passed can be changed. Any council action from the past can be changed,” he said. Resident Gabe Barrow spoke in favor of the market and a public forum to discuss the issue. “Anything can happen, and things change,” he said. “The city is a living, breathing animal and you have to adapt to the circumstances. The business that’s going to go in there is a good, stable business and something the community would welcome.”
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