Retail projects expected to begin

JOHNSTOWN – Long-awaited plans to develop an addition to the Johnstown Shopping Center, including a new T.J. Maxx department store, are expected to move forward soon.

“Final plans should be coming in next week,” city Fire Chief Bruce Heberer told the Common Council Monday night at City Hall.

Heberer, the city’s top code enforcement officer, said the project involves expansion of the shopping center.

T.J. Maxx has proposed a 23,400-square-foot store as an addition next to Romana’s restaurant, on the north end of the Johnstown Shopping Center, off the Route 30A arterial. The store would be accessible from the shopping center’s parking lot and from Fisher Avenue.

Based in Framingham, Mass., T.J. Maxx has about 1,000 locations nationwide and sells brand-name family apparel, accessories, shoes, gifts and jewelry at discount prices, according to its website.

Michael Wachs, owner of Pennsylvania-based Johnstown Comrie Associates, said last fall he hoped construction would start this spring. He said he wants to open the store this fall.

Elsewhere in his report to the council, Heberer said Aldi is gearing up to begin its 2,210-square-foot addition and interior improvements at its Route 30A grocery store. The city Planning Board last month approved the proposal, which allows the 15-year-old market to match the company’s newest store prototype, which features energy-efficient operations and more fresh food.

The $1.2 million project will extend the south end of the Aldi building, creating a new entrance, and giving the interior more of a warehouse look, with open ceilings and modern concrete floors.

Heberer said his department continues training on a new bucket truck. He said code enforcement efforts will also be stepped up in the next month.

“Everything else is just geared up for spring cleaning,” he said. “We’ll be beginning our ward sweeps in May.”

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