Sporting goods store may enter Springfield market

Hilliard-based U.S. Properties Group, which owns the 8.5-acre Bechtle Crossing Shopping Center, 1612-1690 N. Bechtle Ave., wants to amend its zoning plan to construct a new Dick’s Sporting Goods location, according to the application. The group will appear before the City Planning Board June 8.

The new Dick’s location is a possibility, but the retailer has not signed a lease, said Donn Davids, vice president of leasing and development for U.S. Properties.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time,” Davids said.

The planned 40,000-square-foot sporting goods store would replace the current Ashley Furniture HomeStore, 1690 Bechtle Ave. The 32,000-square-foot furniture store and the nearby Dollar Tree location would be demolished, according to the application. The stores would be replaced by the sporting goods store, as well as 10,000-square-foot retail store and a 2,500-square-foot small shop.

There is currently no timeline for the project, Davids said. Several messages left for representatives at both Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dollar Tree, Inc. were not returned last week.

The development is a sign the economy is bouncing back, said Springfield Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck.

“The retail market is starting to develop again and starting to invest,” Heck said. “It’s a good sign for the market. It’s always a good sign when you can introduce a new retailer that’s currently not present.”

Dick’s garnered about $6.8 billion in sales last year. The company has 610 stores in 46 states, including three Dayton-area locations in Huber Heights, the Mall at Fairfield Commons and the Dayton Mall.

There are currently two other sporting goods stores in shopping centers in Springfield — Dunham’s and MC Sports, both at the Upper Valley Mall.

U.S. Properties began redeveloping the former Walmart site on North Bechtle Avenue in 2005, Davids said. Several anchor stores, including Kohl’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond, opened in 2007.

The shopping center now has 15 retail stores and restaurants, including Marshalls, Olive Garden and Lane Bryant, among others. The planned development is probably the final phase of the Bechtle Crossing project, which has been a major success both financially and for the community, Davids said.

“We just want to get it done right,” he said.

The Ashley Furniture HomeStore’s lease is up at the end of the year, said Rob Klaben, vice president of marketing and advertising for Morris Furniture Co., Inc. and a North High School graduate. Morris Furniture operates 11 Ashley Furniture HomeStores in the region.

The store, which has about 10 employees, is actively searching for a new location, Klaben said. Any new location would include two entrances, one for the furniture store and another for its mattress store.

“It will give us an opportunity to bring the new generation of Ashley Furniture showrooms to Springfield,” Klaben said.

Earlier this year, Springfield commissioners approved amendments to the planned development north of Walmart on North Bechtle Avenue. The development was proposed in 2006, but was never developed due to the recession.

The undeveloped land could see the addition of up to nine new stores, including two large anchor stores, expanding the already busy retail area. Two stores have agreed in principle to build at the new development, while a deal with another is close.

One of the possible tenants is a big box store, but no plans have been received by the city’s planning department.

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