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Economy and Business

Chapel Hill Mall joins list of troubled NEO retail properties
The Akron mall is in foreclosure, while Rolling Acres and Randall Park have been shuttered for years

Kabir Bhatia
Chapel Hill's logo is familiar to Northeast Ohio shoppers, but retail's rapid changes may have led to a decline; the mall entered receivership this month.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
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In The Region:
Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall has entered receivership, joining the list of Northeast Ohio’s troubled malls. Tennessee-based CBL & Associates has owned the mall for a decade, and is on the hook for nearly $80 million in loans to U.S. Bankcorp.
A receiver was appointed last week by a Summit County judge. City of Akron Deputy Planning Director Adele Roth says she’ll be speaking with the Michigan-based receivers – McKinley Incorporated – this week.

LISTEN: Roth on mixing it up
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“They have all the right ingredients. They just need to, I think, mix it up a little bit better. And McKinley Properties [is] a well-known and well-respected property management company. And if anybody can turn it around it's going to be them.”

Roth adds that -- looking back -- Chapel Hill was seeing a dip in traffic.

LISTEN: Roth on signs of trouble
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“There’s been some signs [such as] anecdotal information about, maybe, the parking lots are looking a little bare. Or that there haven’t been any really cool events going on there. I think you see really prosperous malls have a lot of- it’s not just the tenants.”

Chapel Hill was opened by Forest City Enterprises in 1967, and was the second enclosed mall in the region. It was the long-time home of Archie the Snowman every Christmas. It also housed the first cinema in Northeast Ohio built from-the-ground-up as a multiplex.

Forest City also built Rolling Acres Mall, opened in 1975. It's been shuttered since 2010 and is headed to a tax auction this fall. Roth says it’s unlikely to be used for retail in the future, and could mirror the surrounding area and be converted for light industrial use. Randall Park Mall, near Cleveland, faces a similar fate, although it houses the thriving PSI auto-repair school.
Listener Comments:

Other than the anchor stores there is nothing at Chapel Hill. Their secondary stores seem to cater to the lower income cliental and not much for the middle class. The gangs of kids walking the mall unchecked scares the shoppers away. The few stores that are there that I would shop out are not worth the risk of going to Chapel Hill because of all the crime. I feel sorry for the retailers that are stuck in their leases with no where to go but down. If Chapel would of upgraded like Summit Mall instead of down graded there might be a different story to tell. I know all of my middle class friends have found other places to shop because of safety issues with little to no security in our out of the mall. Looks like another Rolling Acres to me!

Posted by: Anonymous on August 7, 2014 3:08AM
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