As construction of the
Jungle Jim's International Market
ensues in Union Township, retailers are contacting the development team about space available around and inside the supermarket. Formerly Bigg's Place Mall, the Eastgate site spans 40 acres, of which Jungle Jim's will account for more than 200,000 square feet, according to the team. It will be the second Jungle Jim's in the greater Cincinnati area. The original makes up 6.5 acres in Fairfield.
Peter Borchers is a specialist with Midland Retail
, the company handling leases at the 40-acre site. He wasn't permitted to comment on specific interested retailers, but he did concede: "We are targeting restaurants … electronics would be another example. We have some specialty retail, and we've located more of the independent variety that we think would be a good mix with Jungle Jim's. I think it's going to be a real dynamic mix."
He added: "We're going after some larger tenants for larger spaces. They would be more of the national variety."
Eastgate Jungle Jim's construction began last month, not too long after the township agreed to invest $7.5 million in the property, which the store plans to purchase after an eight-year lease. The Jungle Jim's team has been documenting the construction via Facebook
, where fans are asking about jobs, beer, wine and more locations - Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and even China.
"The No. 1 question we're getting is, 'When are you going to build a Jungle Jim's in my area?" says development director Phill Adams.
Jungle Jim's Fairfield location has been recognized for its international selections and wine collections, as noted in programs such as Good Morning America and the History Channel's Modern Marvels.
Union Township officials took note of the supermarket's success. They approached owner Jim Bonaminio and company when bigg's closed its store at the Eastgate site last spring.
"By getting Jungle Jim's, we're talking about a facility that has the capability of attracting people from a 150-200 mile radius, which will not only bring business for Jungle Jim's, but for all of the other retailers, restaurants and so forth," says township trustee Tim Donnellon. "We expect the economic impact to be significant for the township and Clermont County."
The idea of renovating what is known as a "big box" retail site is trending in the greater Cincinnati region. Columbia Township officials and Neyer Properties recently made advancements to the township's Ridge Pointe development, which includes a 108,000 square-foot building near Pleasant Ridge and Kennedy Heights. Kmart closed there in 2003. Tri-State Clinical Laboratory Services is one major tenant moving to the new development.
"It's about time (the development) came to fruition," says Susan Hughes, vice president of the township's board of trustees. "We're going to do a lot of things over. The economics and everything will be better."
Writer: Rich Shivener