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Is Lakefront Outlet Mall the Right Choice for Downtown Retail Development?

Lakefront development plan
City of Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland could be getting a high-end outlet mall. Negotiations are underway between a developer and local officials over city-owned property between Burke Lakefront Airport and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. 

Michigan-based outlet mall developer Horizon Group Properties wants to build the mall on the lakefront site that is currently a parking lot. It would be part of other retail, entertainment and residential development going into that area near East 9th Street. Director of the Kent State University Urban Design Collaborative, Terry Schwarz, says an outlet mall would attract people downtown. But, she questions building a new facility when there is under-utilized retail space downtown.

“The logical place for retail is where the city has invested a lot of money already in Tower City which is well served by transit and already has existing parking and is right on Public Square which has just been redone. And, you know kind of the Galleria which is another under-utilized retail space that was designed similarly as kind of a high-end shopping experience.”

But Schwarz says the advantage of a new outlet mall just off the highway would be quick and easy access and high visibility, things that are less available at Tower City Center and the Galleria.