But owner has his own plans for the building if it doesn’t lease in six months
The home of Belgium’s former grocery store could see activity in the coming months, but exactly when and what is the question.
The building on South Royal Avenue hasn’t been a business since the grocery store closed in 2008, after barely a year in business.
Owner David Schultz said he is working with a realtor to try to lease the 22,000-square-foot building.
“Not a lot is happening right now, according to the realtor,” he said. “It should lease eventually. It’s not going to sit there forever.”
Schultz said the realtor will work getting a tenant in the building for one year. That plan has six months left.
Schultz said he has tried to fill the building before.
“We’ve talked to Aldi, Walgreens, some truck and car dealerships,” he said. “We sent over 150 brochures. There’s just not any interest in there.”
Schultz said a couple of parties approached him about using a couple thousand square feet for warehouse space, but he wants to lease more of the facility than that.
He said the area might be “a little bit too rural yet.”
The slow bounceback of the economy isn’t helping.
“They say it has turned around, but it hasn’t,” Schultz said. “We’ve just got to turn the economy around. That’s what it’s going to take.”
The Village of Belgium Plan Commission last month lamented the lack of business growth in the community and discussed developing plans to attract industry and retail, including perhaps a grocery store.
Much of that growth, they said, hinges on the paving of Silver Beach Road, which would allow trucks easier access to the village’s industrial park. Citing concern about implementing too big of a tax increase all at once, that project has been put on hold until the state’s Main Street reconstruction project is completed.
If nothing happens with the former grocery store in six months, Schultz said he may put in a consignment-type of store including hardware, boats and tractors.
“That’s what we would do if we couldn’t lease it. I just have to wait and see what happens,” he said.
Schultz plans on keeping the building.
“We don’t want to sell it,” he said. “Eventually, it will rent.”
Schultz said the building’s sprinkler system was broken and all the drywall had to be torn off. Now, electricians are redoing wiring in the building and putting bathrooms back in so it’s ready to go if someone wants to lease it.
Schultz said he has no problem breaking up the space but tenants would do it at their expense.
“It’s just a matter of time that somebody will lease it,” he said. “If not, then I’ll do something myself with it. I’ll hire some people and do a business there.”
Schultz and his wife, Bobi, bought the building three years ago. They were looking for a place to move items that had been stored in a 77,000-square-foot warehouse they sold in Milwaukee.
Shortly after they bought the building, the Schultzes moved five semi-trailer loads of items — ranging from real forklifts to toy ones — to the building. Many of the items are from businesses they previously owned. They sold those items in a public sale.
Former owner Nancy Eiseman planned to develop a strip mall on the site with the grocery store as the anchor. The store closed a little more than a year after it opened in October 2007.
Eiseman blamed area residents for not supporting the store and village officials for not reducing a $2.5 million property assessment and imposing excessive permit and impact fees during construction.