Menards to break ground while Target, Dillard’s don’t expect to expand in the near future

Monday, July 14, 2008 | 6:11 p.m. CDT; updated 2:27 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 28, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Menards home improvement store that was to be built off Vandiver Drive, east of the Bass Pro Shop and Hilton Garden Inn, is still set to open in March of 2009. Meanwhile proposed expansions to the Target and Dillard’s stores at Columbia Mall have been postponed, said a spokeswoman for the mall.

Menards’ store project manager Donald Lairmore said he expects construction on the Columbia location to begin by the end of the month.

“It’s a very involved process with getting all the permits, bids and everything else that needs to get done,” he said.

Menards is a private company with only has one store in Missouri, located in St. Joseph.

While the Menards construction plans appear to be under way, Target and Dillards haven’t set any definite dates for starting construction on expansions to locations in Columbia.

Sonja Derboven, common area coordinator for the Columbia Mall, said the mall worked with the city to allow Target and Dillard’s to expand, but it is up to the stores to actually start the construction. She does not know why or for how long the stores postponed the expansions.

The Columbia City Council approved the Target expansion in July 2007 and the Dillard’s expansion in March 2005.

Target spokeswoman Katie Benscoter said that while the store was being considered for remodeling, there was never a specific schedule for the expansion. She added that all decisions must go through the corporate office, which is continuing to evaluate the company’s 1,500 stores in 47 states, including the Columbia store.

She added that the store in Columbia Mall is still meeting the company’s standards, so it will not be remodeled any time soon.

Derboven said the Target and Dillard’s stores asked the mall to obtain permission for the expansions.

The City Council approved the Target plan even though it would mean the number of parking spaces would not meet the ratio required by the city.

Plans submitted to and approved by the council show the Target expansion would add 26,810 square feet to the existing 101,969 square feet. The expansion also would include a new 297-space lot and would reduce the percentage of open space for the entire mall property from 13.5 percent to 9.6 percent, according to an Aug. 1, 2007, report to the council from Planning and Development Director Tim Teddy.

Plans also call for the paving over of stormwater detention ponds on the south side of the mall and the installation of porous pavement to move the stormwater underground, according to Teddy’s report.

The Dillard’s expansion would add a second, 46,000-square-foot floor. Dillard’s spokeswoman Julie Bull said the expansion is not on the schedule for 2008 or 2009, so it will not happen “in the near future.”

“We keep our options with expansions open,” she said.

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