Sporting goods retailer Cabela's Inc. eyes West Chester site for region's first store

Zoning approvals sought for 18-acre site

WEST CHESTER TWP., Ohio - Outdoor sports mega-retailer Cabela’s Inc. is planning a 74,000-square-foot store in West Chester Township, according to documents filed with planning and zoning officials Tuesday.

Developer Keefe Properties submitted a revised preliminary development plan showing the region’s first Cabela’s store on an 18-acre site near the Liberty Center development in Butler County. The store would anchor a larger retail and office development west of I-75 and South of Liberty Way.

“It’s really rewarding to know that West Chester is a desired location for these national destination retailers,” said Township Administrator Judith Boyko. “That’s evident from Ikea, AMC Theaters and Bass Pro.”

Boyko said the new development plan will be considered at the Township Zoning Commission’s July 21 meeting. The submittal doesn’t make the project a certainty and Cabela’s declined to confirm plans for a West Chester store when reached Monday.

Founder Dick Cabela built the national sporting goods empire from his kitchen table in tiny Chappell, Neb., according to the company's official history . He started by selling hand-tied fishing flies. At the end of 2013, it had 46 stores in the U.S and four in Canada, along with 16,000 employees and revenue of $3.6 billion.

“We’re definitely looking around and there’s definitely possibilities in the future but until we make an official announcements I can’t speak to or speculate on new store locations,” said Cabela’s spokesman Nathan Borowski.

Cabela’s would be the third sporting goods retailer to announce a new store in the West Chester area. Bass Pro Shops is building a 150,000-square-foot store at I-75 and Union Center Boulevard.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced plans for an 80,000-square-foot flagship store at Liberty Center.

Further north on I-75 at Austin Landing in Miami Township south of Dayton, Field and Stream is planning a 50,000-square-foot store.

That leads one retail real estate expert to question whether West Chester is the right spot for the region’s first Cabela’s store.

“Cabela’s is a strong retailer, but third position in an over-saturated market would be a tough entry point entrance for anyone to consider,” said Melissa Ruther, vice president of retail brokerage for Jones Lang LaSalle downtown.

The nearest Cabela's stores are in Columbus, with two locations, and in Louisville, Ky., with one.

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