Farewell Old Navy

The former Old Navy location, in the Markland Mall, is seen here in January of 2015.

Kokomo residents will soon be able to shop at Old Navy again.

The national clothing chain is gearing up for a return to the City of Firsts with a location at 2132 E. Boulevard St. in the old Party City location at the Boulevard Crossing shopping mall.

A representative from GAP, Inc., the parent company of Old Navy, confirmed to the Tribune Monday the plan to open a store in the fall.

{span style=”color: black;”}”We’re thrilled to come back to Kokomo and provide our loyal customers a nearby location for all their Old Navy shopping needs{/span},” Justine Jordan, corporate communications for GAP, Inc., said in an email.

The clothing store last week sought to install a 5- or 6-foot tall letters on the storefront facade, though that request was denied by the Kokomo Board of Zoning Appeals.

Jaimie Burns, of Georgia-based It’s Perittable and representing Old Navy at the meeting, said the company wants larger letters so passersby would be better able to see the store from the road.

“They feel with a larger set of letters, they’d be more visible to the traffic at the intersection, allowing better reaction time for drivers to locate the property, the business in a safer manner,” Burns told the board.

But the request ran into resistance from board members.

The city has made it a priority to limit large lettering on storefronts in recent years, especially along Indiana 931. An ordinance passed in 2012 limits 2-foot high letters on business buildings along the state highway, though 3-foot letters have been allowed in the recent past – most notably for the new businesses at the Markland Mall.

“We do appreciate Old Navy wanting to come back to our area,” said Greg Sheline, executive director of the Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission. “But there’s no one at Boulevard Crossing that has 6-foot letters. ... It’s nothing against Old Navy or anyone else that wants to come in ... I just think granting the 6-foot letters variance would be detrimental to what we’ve been attempting to do the last several years along that corridor.”

Sheline told Burns his office would be OK with granting a permit for 3-foot high lettering. Burns said she’d communicate that to Old Navy. Sheline told the Tribune Monday he’s yet to hear back from the clothing company.

Old Navy closed its previous Kokomo location in the Markland Mall in early 2016. At that time, the company seemed to foreshadow its return to the city, hanging up a banner in its storefront that read: “This isn’t goodbye. It’s see you later. We’re closing 1.26.16.”

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich

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