What is the Future of Chapel Hill Mall?
Akron used to be home to three shopping malls. Of the three, one is gone. Rolling Acres Mall shut its doors a little over 10 years ago and the property is being redeveloped. One appears to be doing well. Summit Mall maintains an attractive assortment of stores. The third is failing. Chapel Hill Mall has lost two anchor tenants and a number of stores.
The Devil Strip's Noor Hindi recently visited the Akron mall. In her article, "'It may not be a mall forever:' Checking in on Chapel Hill Mall," Hindi finds that Chapel Hill is not what it used to be.
"A lot of the parking lots are empty. That's the first thing you notice," she said. "There's a lot of graffiti on the walls, a lot of broken glass at the storefronts."
The inside looks a bit different. "The inside of the mall was clean, but spooky."
There were about 20 people roaming around the mall on a Tuesday. Two of the three anchor spaces are vacant. According to Hindi, 37 of the 62 spaces within the building are vacant.
Mehran Kohanseih owns 30 malls across the country, including Chapel Hill. The owner told Hindi he had no immediate plans for the mall. "It seems like he understands the reality of shopping malls and that a lot of them are on the decline," said Hindi.
Hindi used to enjoy the mall when she was younger.
"It's really haunting to be in there," she said. "My memories were visiting the mall, talking to Archie the Snowman and being a little terrified of Archie the Snowman. The mall still had Kaufmann's before Macy's, then Macy's and now it's a storage unit. It does makes me very wistful."