Ithaca’s Old Kmart to Become Hobby Lobby

Construction site of upcoming Hobby Lobby in Ithaca.

Construction site of upcoming Hobby Lobby in Ithaca.

Ithaca, NY — For two years, the old Kmart building on South Meadow Street has been vacant after the discount retailer shuttered many locations nationwide. Now comes word arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby will open in the strip mall come November.

Benderson Development, which also developed the nearby South Meadow Square, is heading up finding tenants for the 88,200-square-feet former Kmart building at 736-744 S. Meadow. The development company is seeking site plan approval by the city’s Planning and Development Board.

The new store, similar to existing Michael’s and AC Moore, will take 56,444 square feet. A 14,744-square-foot addition is also planned, along with a new entrance including a vestibule. Benderson has yet to announce what other tenants will occupy the more than 46,000 remaining square feet.

The strip mall already houses a Staples and Petsmart.

Hobby Lobby, a 559-store chain based in Oklahoma, made news in July after winning a preliminary injunction against a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  The temporary injunction exempted Hobby Lobby from requiring its employee insurance cover birth control. As the Oct. 1 date for the program to launch draws near, the Obama administration recently appealed the early decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Huffington Post.

Hobby Lobby, privately owned by the Green family, contends such a demand violates its religions beliefs. The nonprofit law firm Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty represented the company. Along with the arts and craft chain, the family also operates the Mardel Christian bookstores, according to Reuters.