The television commercial jingle urging people to "save money at Menards" will be easier to heed come next spring.

The television commercial jingle urging people to "save money at Menards" will be easier to heed come next spring.

Construction is about to begin on one of the anchor stores at the former site of the Northland Mall.

"We're going to start construction in mid-May," Jeff Abbott, spokesman for Eau Claire, Wis.-based Menard Inc., said Monday.

Completion is anticipated for spring 2011, he added.

"This is our large-format store," Abbott said. "This is the same size store that we have currently in Lancaster and Chillicothe."

Stores of this size Abbott declined to provide the specific square footage include a garden center, full-service lumberyard and home-improvement products.

The Menards will be built on the site of the former Sears department store and parking lot at the mall, which is now called Northland Village and is being redeveloped by Gahanna-based Stonehenge Co.

The news was hailed by Northland community leaders as not only good but also possibly signaling even more good news to come.

"We're excited," said Roseann Hicks, president of the Northland Area Business Association. "We're very excited to partner with them, help get them acquainted with the area. I think it's going to be a great partnership."

"We have sort of been waiting with great anticipation for something concrete to happen down at the Northland Village site," Northland Community Council president Dave Paul said. "This is very, very welcome news. At this point we're very happy to see the thaw in the project down there.

"I think there are a number of things that have been waiting for the economy and this may be a signal that the economy is coming out of its hibernation."

"That's a big deal," said Dave Cooper, immediate past president of NABA, head of the Northland Alliance and chairman of the State Route 161 Task Force. "That's very important and now if we can get the Penney building going, that would be great, also. Those are the anchors that Mo (Dioun of Stonehenge) wanted to get going and in the ground so that we could build up around them.

"We're very excited about that news for the Northland Alliance and NABA and the Northland Community Council."

"It's great news," NABA membership services director Mark Higdon said. "It caught me completely by surprise."

Higdon recalled that it was two years ago next month that Mayor Michael B. Coleman held a press conference on the former mall property to announce Menard Inc. had purchased two parcels for just under $1.8-million.

"Everything seemed to be steamrolling forward," Higdon said. "But as that year came to an end the clouds of doubt began to form, and then all through 2009 everyone was wondering, 'When is Menards going to start?'"

Now there's an answer to the question, and Higdon said he hopes it urges other business owners to consider moving forward with development plans.

"I certainly hope it has that sort of broad effect in the Northland area and particularly Northland Village," he said.

Higdon pointed out that government investment at Northland Village already is considerable, with the Ohio Department of Taxation having moved into a rehabilitated building and a new Franklin County animal shelter under construction.

"The advent of Menards there is the first big footprint of the private sector in the redevelopment of that site," Higdon said.