The decision by HomeGoods to pursue a proposed $160 million, 1.2-million-square-foot distribution center in Lordstown is a major victory for the Mahoning Valley.
Had the company abandoned its plans to locate here because of opposition from a relatively small group of homeowners and others, the Valley would have suffered a major setback in its campaign to attract new businesses.
A region’s business climate is an important factor in any company’s decision-making process.
HomeGoods was on the verge of pulling up stakes when more than 600 residents of Lordstown and the area participated in a rally last Sunday in support of the project.
Indeed, the gathering at the track/soccer complex was organized to counter the opposition that has surfaced to HomeGoods’ plans to build on a 290-acre site along Ellsworth-Bailey Road.
The site includes seven parcels currently zoned residential. The company, a division of TJX Companies Inc., needs the zoning to be changed to industrial.
Therein lies the problem. Between 50 and 60 Lordstown residents have pledged to push for a vote of the people if the planning and zoning commission and village council approve the changes.
That threat prompted HomeGoods officials to withdraw their request for a hearing before the commission.
Cancellation of the hearing led to widespread speculation that HomeGoods was walking away, even though the zone-change applications had not been withdrawn.
The company’s refusal to publicly comment on the status on the project added to the region’s anxiety.
But all that changed Friday afternoon when HomeGoods announced it is “planning once again to pursue the Ellsworth Bailey Road site …”