CLEVELAND, October 11, 2011 – CenterMark Development LLC has commenced the redevelopment of a 7-acre, 65,000 square-foot building which will anchor the first phase of a neighborhood revitalization plan envisioned by city officials seven years ago. Plans call for subsequent development of up to two more retail outlots targeting much-needed retail uses.
The project, known as The Shops at Garrett Square, is located at 11905 Superior Avenue in Cleveland and will initially feature one of the nation’s leading edited assortment neighborhood grocers, Save-A-Lot Food Stores, and discount apparel retailer Forman Mills. Outlots will target restaurants, general merchandisers, and banks, among others.
“I am pleased to have secured commitments from two national retailers as anchors for the redevelopment,” said Mark Jablonski, CenterMark President. “Save-A-Lot is an extreme-value grocery chain that operates more than 1,300 stores in 39 states. Forman Mills is known for its low-priced designer clothing and operates 30 stores mostly in the northeast corridor, Washington D.C., Chicago and Detroit,” he added.
Mr. Jablonski said that CenterMark expects to complete its rehabilitation and turnover the retail spaces to tenants in December in order for them to tailor their interior improvements. Grand opening is expected in the Spring of next year.
“This project does a number of things: puts an abandoned, vacant property into productive use; it brings healthy foods to a city neighborhood; and it is expected to serve as a catalyst for other positive commercial development in that area," said Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell, within whose ward the project resides, said, “CenterMark’s redevelopment launches the anchor project of the community’s Garrett Square revitalization plan set forth in 2004 and will help put my constituents to work. “Repositioning a former big-box Tops store into the increasingly popular smaller format stores is no mean feat,” Mr. Conwell said, “especially in an urban environment which some retailers shun.”
Cuyahoga County District 7 Councilperson Yvonne M. Conwell, whose district suffers from a high poverty rate, said, “Everyone is "the Heart of their community", and in order to keep that heart strong, the food deserts that exist in urban neighborhoods have to be eradicated one by one.” She continued, “The Garrett Square project will not only help eliminate a food desert area, but will foster family-style businesses including small retail shopping centers which fill residents' needs and provide jobs. “
“As a value-minded neighborhood grocer, Save-A-Lot is pleased to be part of this neighborhood revitalization project by bringing a new grocery store and more than 20 new jobs to this community,” said Chon Tomlin, External Communications Manager for Save-A-Lot. She continued, “Our stores offer a carefully selected mix of 1,200 to 1,500 of the most popular, brand-name and Save-A-Lot exclusive label essentials, including farm fresh fruits and vegetables; USDA-inspected meat and dairy; and a full line of baby and household products, all at a significant savings of up to 40 percent when compared to traditional grocers.”
The Forman Mills store will be its first in Ohio. Owner Rick Forman says he expects the store to be a quick success. “We studied the market for several years and felt the time was right to enter,” said Mr. Forman. He added, “This project is very similar to one in Chicago which we recently opened that also features a Save- A-Lot co-tenant, heavy population, nearby public transportation, and pent up demand for quality apparel, footwear and houseware.”
Construction financing was provided by First Place Bank. The City of Cleveland granted a ten-year, 60% tax abatement on project improvements. Architectural services were performed by Studio Techne Architects of Cleveland and HCI, Inc. is serving as general contractor.
A formal announcement and ceremonial ground breaking is scheduled for the site at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 15.