Long-vacant Tops supermarket box in Cleveland gets restocked with a Save-A-Lot, Forman Mills
By Michelle Jarboe McFee, The Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Five years after Tops pulled out, the grocery store in Cleveland’s Glenville-Forest Hills neighborhood sits empty – yet another vacant box.
That’s about to change, as real estate companies here and across the country seek creative ways to remake tired retail space.
A developer expects to start construction Saturday on a $1.25 million makeover of the 65,000-square-foot building, at 11905 Superior Ave.
By spring, the space will be filled by a Save-A-Lot grocery store and Forman Mills, a discount clothing retailer opening its first Ohio location.
The building went dark in late 2006, when the Tops Markets supermarket chain left Ohio. In March 2009, the owner handed over the keys to the city of Cleveland, a lender on the property.
In August, the city sold the 7-acre site to an affiliate of CenterMark Development LLC, a real estate firm based in University Heights.
“Retail is probably one of the hardest-hit sectors of the real estate segment,” said Mark Jablonski, CenterMark’s president. “This is an inner-city setting, and the building had been vacant since December 2006. And there wasn’t much development around this particular property. It made for a very hard sell.”
Save-A-Lot, which took over another former Tops on East 185th Street, will occupy 21,000 square feet. Forman Mills will fill the remaining space. The retailer, based in New Jersey, started on the East Coast and has expanded into Illinois and Michigan.
Dubbed the Shops at Garrett Square, the property has room for additional freestanding businesses, such as restaurants, auto-parts stores or a dollar store.
Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell expects the shopping center, in his ward, to employ 80 to 100 people. Conwell announced the groundbreaking today and will hold a health and harvest festival on the property Saturday.
“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,” Mayor Frank Jackson said in a written statement.
The city approved a 10-year property-tax abatement for the project. As the shopping center’s value increases, CenterMark will pay tax on only 40 percent of the improvements.
Chain Store Age
Save-A-Lot to anchor Cleveland redevelopment
Cleveland — CenterMark Development LLC announced that Save-A-Lot Food Stores, along with the Ohio debut of discount apparel retailer Forman Mills, will anchor The Shops at Garrett Square. The 65,000-sq.-ft. project is the first phase of a neighborhood revitalization plan envisioned by city officials seven years ago, and plans call for subsequent development of up to two more retail outlots targeting much‐needed retail uses.
CenterMark said it expects to complete its $1.3 million rehabilitation and turn over the retail spaces to tenants in December in order for them to tailor their interior improvements. Grand opening is expected in spring 2012.
“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.
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