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What Should be the Anchor Store at the Stow-Kent Plaza?

The mayor said an anchor store is needed before updates are made to the plaza.

The Stow-Kent shopping plaza has been mostly empty for quite some time and the aesthetics of the plaza is what most describe as an eyesore. But, Mayor Sara Drew said the owner of the property isn't interested in making any updates until an anchor store moves into one of the empty spots.

"That shopping plaza has been vacant for a long time ... it's a constant concern," said Drew. "The owner isn't interested in rehabbing the plaza until they have an anchor tenant — most anchor tenants will want the building renovated to meet their architectural demands."

Right now, in that plaza, some of the space is occupied. Some of the current tenants there are a Fitworks, Subway and Macy's — which is the top producing Macy’s per square foot in Ohio, the mayor said.

Drew said it's "understandable" that the the owner wants an anchor tenant to commit before making improvements.

Until then ... "It continues to be an eye sore in the meantime," said Drew.  

Drew said she and her administration are always trying to find tenants for that plaza. There are also tax incentives offered by the city and fees that could be waved for potential tenants.

"We are not sitting back and waiting for developers to do all the work. We are always trying to encourage companies to move in," she said, adding she met with a potential tenant (that should could not name) two weeks ago.

So, Patch wants to know, what anchor store would you like to see move into that plaza? Tell us in the comments section.

Jack Kelly February 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I would add that a retailer like Trader Joe's are very strategic about where they place their stores (average income of the cities surrounding/immediate area, demographics, etc). Take their 2 NE Ohio locations -- Westlake (W) and Woodmere (E). Look at the cities immediately surrounding them -- esp. Westlake. North Olmsted, Avon/Avon Lake, Bay Village. Woodmere has Shaker Hts, Beachwood, Solon, Mayfield Hts, Pepper Pike, etc. Here there's Stow and Hudson. That's it.
Jack Kelly February 17, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Ed, I didn't mean to come across like I was "talking down" to you, so if it came across that way, I apologize. It "sounds" like the current owners want to get businesses in the current structures. Which isn't going to happen in the condition that place is in. It needs to come down and reconfigured. A good example is Westgate Mall in Rocky River (near Cleveland). The mall was old and losing stores to Great Northern Mall. So, they closed the mall, tore down everything -- except a Kohl's. They rebuilt it as a walkable outdoor center AROUND the existing Kohl's. They attracted some unique stores (although many are chains) that are not around there and a Target from another shopping center about 1/4 mile down the street (that shopping center that Target moved FROM is a ghost town lol). That's an example of what I was suggesting that what needs to happen to the shopping center.
Chris February 17, 2012 at 12:44 AM
This is what is going to happen. I will sit and continue to slow decay. The existing stores will move out. A few years later a developer will buy it on the cheap. Fill it full of low income apartments or maybe senior assisted living to house us baby boomers and in 30 years when were all gone. It will sit empty and slow decay and a developer will buy it a build a TJMaxx and a Trader Joe's.
Denise Tonelli February 17, 2012 at 11:53 AM
When considering what would work there, Kent is also close by and is doing a major renovation. They have two large businesses with the Davey Tree Resource Group and the Ametek Electromechanical Group setting up office space. Other tenants expected to lease space when the project is completed are Aladdins, Bricco, Shop 42, Panini's and Dino Palmieri's Salon. I love the restaurants they attracted.
Nikki Kehres February 17, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Aldi's and Trader Joe's may be owned by the same company but they are completely different in their approaches and clients. Westlake has both.
Lee Reising February 17, 2012 at 03:33 PM
My husband and I have been putting together a business plan to bring a family entertainment center to Stow and that would be the perfect location in our minds. Any investors out there interested? Maybe we could offer a charter membership. The center has been advertised by a commercial realtor for years (http://www.kelly-visconsi.com/properties/view/41) but the owners don't want to put the money into a rehab that doesn't fit a potential new tenant. As soon as they build it out then they're stuck looking for specific size tenants I suppose. I talked to the realtor a year or so ago and their intent is (or at least was) not to leave the existing buildings standing, but to bulldoze them and rebuild. That being the case, I wish they would just doze them now and remove the eyesore. Anyone interested in family entertainment? Somewhere between a Chuck e Cheese and a Dave & Busters. Aimed more at bringing our families together and a fun, safe place for our teens to hang out together too.
Nikki Kehres February 17, 2012 at 03:56 PM
There's a place in Lexington KY that sounds like what you are describing. That would be wonderful to have something fun for the kids like that around here. http://gattitownlexington.com/
Lee Reising February 17, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Yes, that's along the lines of what we were thinking, but the real target market for that one ends at about 12 yr olds. We'd like to attract both families with younger children and teens. Offering a teen area to attract the 12 to 16+ set who need someplace to hang out with friends. A clean "night club" feel area for our teens to socialize, while parents can feel good about their safety.
Jack Kelly February 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I don't understand why the owners simply don't just raze the joint (after Big Lots) and put it up for sale -- or make it available for retailers to build out individually. Given the age of the place, I would presume that asbestos is an issue, so that is an expense prospective businesses are not going to want to pay for. I would believe the owner(s) would have better luck getting something else in there if they just forked out the money to have the asbestos removed and raze it. Or see if some area fire departments would be interested in using it for practice.
Jack Kelly February 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Would this be something that would compliment the Sto-Kent Family Entertainment Center (or whatever it is called) on Fishcreek? Or be a competitor? I used to DJ and be involved in teen clubs in the 90's and I can tell you that they are a HUGE hassle and, honestly, not worth the time & effort. No matter how much you try to make it safe.
Mary Christine Mohe February 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM
. Someone commented that we weren't enough like Hudson to build a shopping area like they did. I ask, "WHY NOT?" We need a dream and we need to follow it. We just have to fine someone with a plan! I love to go to Hudson's and do so frequently. It is such a neat place with the green area, benches to sit on and talk, outdoor coffee place. Every time you go into Caribou Coffee it is packed. They have some seating in the green area protected from the wind etc. by building up the green space and using plants as well. It would take up most of that space! I just know that if I had a nice shopping area with stores like Coldwater Creek, and other smaller stores with that hometown feel, I would spend my money here in Stow where I live. An area like that would also create a feeling of community which we all desperately need. We need to know our neighbors! I say to our Mayor, find someone with a dream for that space, and communicate what Stow needs and wants along with their expertise. We have to stop being naysayers all the time. Whatever happened to follow your dreams? Maybe we should have a DREAM Campaign!! We don't need to just fill up that space with all the so-called anchor stores or big-box ideas. Yes, Coldwater Creek is an type of anchor store, but the one in Hudson has that homey atmosphere, and the clerks know the customers that come in there. It's kind of like "CHEERS", and "everybody knows your name". It's great that so many people have ideas for Stow.
Lee Reising February 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Putting any entertainment attraction in that area is going to be in competition with Sto-Kent FEC for consumer entertainment dollars, but it would not be a direct competitor for bowling, volleyball or outdoor minigolf offerings. I think there's always opportunity to compliment each other through promotions, etc. We've talked about the ultimate hassle that could go along with having a teen center offering, but we believe our community needs a social entertainment option for our teens. Some things are just worth the effort.
Indre Ardys Howell February 18, 2012 at 07:28 PM
How about a Dave and Busters ? I think the closest one is pretty far from here. I've also always wished there was a movie theater closer that offered independently made films, like the Cedar-Lee theater in Cleveland Heights.
D Herbert February 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I am biased because I am a huge technology guy but we don't have any amazing tech store in the area. I think a best buy would do well in the area. I would definitely encourage a restaurant to compete with Applebee's.
Larry Kinnan February 21, 2012 at 01:13 PM
For a tech store I am not a big fan of Best Buy but from my travels to other cities a Frys would be a unique addition to the area. It is large enough though that it would likely consume the whole plaza. Frys also has the added plus that there are none in Ohio I believe.
Stow Resident February 21, 2012 at 02:07 PM
My suggestion is a movie theater. Yes I know that would be difficult but some new theaters are being built and with the right incentive package it can be done. You need a destination for consumers to go to. We have no theaters in town and with a Starbucks coming in across the street a theater would keep more of our residents entertainment dollars in town.
Stow Resident February 21, 2012 at 02:07 PM
My suggestion is a movie theater. Yes I know that would be difficult but some new theaters are being built and with the right incentive package it can be done. You need a destination for consumers to go to. We have no theaters in town and with a Starbucks coming in across the street a theater would keep more of our residents entertainment dollars in town.
Jack Kelly February 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Part of that "incentive package" would have to include subsidizing their annual losses. As long as screens remain in Hudson, Chapel Hill & Kent, a movie theater is simply is not financially viable in Stow. I still strongly believe that Stow/Kent shopping center is no longer viable AS A WHOLE for retail, and that other uses for it that is NOT retail (nor residential) should be strongly considered.
Amanda Harnocz February 23, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I'm surprised no one said something like a DSW?
J. Rios February 24, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I tried that in 2004, with 5 investors & a partnership with a local pizza/chicken joint that wanted to relocate in Stow. We had planned indoor golf (live vegetation), large video game & redemption area, table games (Pool, Hockey, Foosball, etc), projection TVs (live games), dart league & a lead on 24 go-karts. All drawn up in a workable business plan to go in the old hardware store end, before they tore down the lumber yard section. Property manager said not interested. Jeff
Laura February 24, 2012 at 08:23 PM
TRADER JOE'S! Or some kind of healthy food store! But ya its gonna need A LOT of cleaning up first. Like do what they did to the old K Mart where Hobby Lobby is now! ya that' would be a GOOD idea!
J. Rios February 24, 2012 at 09:25 PM
At this point no big name businesses would be interested because of the condition of the plaza. So maybe the Mayor's office could force an option of a swap-meet or weekend craft center/expo. One that is open to all small & home businesses that can offer goods & services. After all that would pull the community in the form of interested foot traffic as well as a advertise for businesses in Stow. Its low up keep & really offers organizers ie the city, an opportunity to market itself. Win win. We just need the Mayor's office to light a fire under the property or something.
Jack Kelly February 25, 2012 at 02:48 PM
The entire former Kmart came down and that was all rebuilt.
Larry Kinnan February 26, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Mr. Helbig - The KMart store was not torn down and rebuilt. Only the front facade was redone. The majority of the store remained during the renovation.
Jack Kelly February 26, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I stand corrected. I thought it came down after Kmart closed that store.
Kimball1530 February 27, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Costco, Meijer, or an entertainment complex that includes a LazerQuest would have my vote.
Rich Nageotte February 28, 2012 at 07:52 AM
I agree with the idea of a cinema: multi-screen plus IMAX.
Lina Amawi Mustafa April 11, 2012 at 02:55 AM
TJ Maxx HomeGoods like the one in Boardman!
Lina Amawi Mustafa April 11, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Or tear it down and build a Stow Rec. Center.
Ryan Tate October 14, 2013 at 03:56 PM
I'm late to the conversation on this post, but I have dreams of having a community center/community theater, with coffee shop, lounge and church worship center all in one.

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