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T.J. Maxx coming to East Aurora plaza

A struggling plaza in East Aurora will soon get new life with the addition of a discount clothing chain store.

T.J. Maxx will occupy part of the long-vacant, former Ames department store in Aurora Village Shopping Center, commonly called the Grey Street Plaza.

“We’re thrilled to confirm that T.J. Maxx is coming to East Aurora,” said Eric Recoon, vice president of development and leasing at Benderson Development. “They should prove to be a vital anchor along with Tops and Valu.”

The new store will take up 22,000 square feet at the eastern end of the existing former Ames building, alongside a former Goodyear Auto store, which relocated across the street. Plans call for the addition of a loading dock, improvements to the building’s facade and a new sign.

The spot has been empty since Ames went out of business more than a decade ago, and residents have been clamoring for a new retail option ever since. T.J. Maxx or its sister store Marshalls had been rumored to be coming to the plaza for years, but nothing had ever come to fruition. Residents grew more and more impatient as the empty building languished, and pushed the Village Board to make something happen.

“It’s been an issue for years,” said Gary Grote, executive director at the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce. “Benderson has been working on this for a long time.”

The village hopes the new store will be the first step in revitalizing the plaza, which also contains a defunct former Jubilee grocery store. The plaza is home to Tops Markets, Valu Home Center, Mighty Taco and a fitness center.

“There’s still quite a bit of vacant space there, so I think to have someone like them come in, it will hopefully be attractive enough to entice other businesses to come here,” Grote said.

T.J. Maxx declined to comment. There is no indication when the project might start, since it is still in the planning stages. The Village Board deferred the development plan to the Planning Board earlier this week.

T.J. Maxx has eight locations in Western New York.