Dollar Tree Plaza

This is the new location for LIFE (Living Independence For the Elderly)-NWPA at the Dollar Tree Plaza on Park Avenue in Meadville. The agency plans to move to its new location by mid-summer.

After almost three years and a pandemic, the Dollar Tree Plaza on Park Avenue is expected to be at full occupancy this summer with a mix of retail and office space.

Work has been underway for the past couple of months to complete the build-out of around 10,000 square feet at the shopping center plus another 2,000-square-foot addition.

Construction costs are valued at around $940,000, according to building permits issued in February by the city. GilCon & Associates of Meadville is the general contractor for the project.

LIFE-NWPA (Living Independence For the Elderly-Northwestern Pennsylvania) is scheduled to move into the shopping center's remaining space this summer.

In January, Hasting Development LLC, owner of the property, was granted a special exception to allow LIFE to operate in the shopping center at 1119 Park Ave., which is zoned for general business.

LIFE-NWPA helps those age 55 and older with chronic health care needs to be served in their homes and communities for long as possible through an all-inclusive and preventative approach to care.

Its centers promote independent living and have on-site physicians, nursing and therapy staffs and offer personal care and socialization to clients. The agency provides all medical transportation and transportation to and from its centers. LIFE staff even provide home visits when needed.

LIFE has been operating out of offices within Meadville Medical Center's Grove Street facility, but will move to its new location by mid-summer, according to Mark Gusek, chief executive officer of LIFE-NWPA.

"It gives us better visibility, more space to work with for our physicians and staff and people can pull right up to the center," he said. "It also makes it more uniform with our other centers in other counties which are around 10,000 to 12,000 square feet."

The shopping center is the site of the former Sandy’s European Market at Park Avenue and Willow Street.

The 8,800-square-foot former market building was renovated into a Dollar Tree discount variety store, which opened in the fall of 2018. A small addition was completed on the south side of the building in the fall of 2019, which now houses a Citizens Bank branch.

In 2019, work began on a 10,800-square-foot addition on the north side of the former market's building.

The addition's overall building shell, subdivided store fronts and utilities were completed before the statewide COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

Kindred at Home, a home health care company, leased part of the north side addition for office space.

Snap Fitness, a gym, and Bandito's, a new local Mexican restaurant, were announced as tenants for additional portions of it in the summer of 2019 with both their openings expected in 2020.

However, neither Snap Fitness nor Bandito's came about due to the pandemic, according to Spiro Pappan of developer Hasting Development LLC.

"We had Snap Fitness and Bandito's, then the pandemic hit," he said. "They're good operations, but didn't move forward because of the pandemic."

Pappan subsequently began marketing the property to other potential tenants.

"It's a great location and Meadville's a great community," he said. "It was not difficult to get it leased."

When LIFE-NWPA agreed to lease the space for a new center, an additional 2,000 square feet of space was added on to the rear of the property's north side addition.

"They'll move in by mid-summer," Pappan said of LIFE-NWPA. "We're very happy with the end result."

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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