City Councilman Argues Akron Should Look For Alternatives to Demolishing Donated JC Penney Store

May 9, 2017

The J.C. Penney store was one of many former anchor stores at Rolling Acres Mall. Akron has been working to demolish the surrounding core of the mall since it acquired it last year.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

An Akron councilman is questioning the city’s proposal to demolish the former JC Penney store at Rolling Acres Mall.

The company agreed to donate the vacant building to the city, which sparked debate at the City Council meeting yesterday.

The spokeswoman for Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Ellen Lander Nischt, says the building is in poor condition, has asbestos and would be hard to keep secure. She says the city wants the building torn down.

But Councilman Mike Freeman says the city should explore potential buyers before making a decision.


“If we have done as much of our homework – if our economic development department, our planning department – if they’ve done as much of their homework as they can, putting the building out there on market and we’ve not had anything come back, I could see, OK, maybe it makes sense then to raze that building.”

Freeman believes that the building is still in good condition and should be able to be used for other purposes.


“That building actually was being used for retail space as recently as four years ago. I just wanted to make sure that I understood fully why we would tear down a building that, from what I see, is still in good condition inside and out.”

 

Akron finally got ownership of Rolling Acres last year, but not its five former anchor stores. It’s in the process of demolishing the section it owns.