artistís rendition shows the new Westgate retail center as viewed
from Center Ridge Road. (Drawing courtesy of The Richard E.
for Westgate announced
Vacant Dillard's stores
to be demolished this summer
By Kevin Kelley
Published June 1, 2005
much-anticipated plans to redevelop moribund Westgate Mall were
announced by the Richard E. Jacobs Group last week, but few details
not previously known were released.
Fifty to 60 specialty shops and restaurants will join the existing
Kohl's store and an unknown number of additional major anchor stores
on the 55-acre site, which will still be called "Westgate." All
together, the redeveloped center will contain approximately 600,000
square feet of retail shops and restaurants.
"Our goal is to create a unique and vibrant mix of anchors, specialty
shops and restaurants that will serve Westgate's well-established
trade area," Jim Eppele, the Jacobs Group vice president of development,
said in a statement.
The announcement came at the annual spring convention of the International
Council of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas. A record 40,000 attendees
registered for the meeting, which is the world's largest real estate
Officials from Fairview Park, in which most of Wesgate's 55 acres
are located, welcomed the announcement.
"This is exciting," said Mayor Eileen Patton. "If we had enough
balloons and confetti to spread over the whole community, we'd do
While acknowledging the city doesn't know what stores will be tenants
of the new Westgate, Patton expressed confidence the Jacobs Group
will build an attractive center consistent with Fairview Park's
Development Director Jim Kennedy noted the primary architects --
Cleveland-based Dorsky Hodgson Partners -- is the same firm which
designed Legacy Village in Lyndhurst.
The new Westgate's design will consist of Western Reserve-style
buildings in a pedestrian-friendly setting of streets and plazas,
the Jacobs Group's announcement said.
Kennedy emphasized it will not be a "big-box" complex.
"This nonsense that has been floating across the community about
a "big-box" development is simply not true," he said. "It's going
to be an upscale, attractive, pedestrian-friendly, outward-oriented
facility in keeping with our design guidelines."
Demolition of the two vacant Dillard's stores will begin this summer.
The rest of the mall will be torn down later. The Jacobs Group has
not said when the mall will close for good. The old Dillard's Home
Store, which lies east of the mall, will also be demolished. But
AMC Westgate Mall Cinema and Longhorn Steakhouse, which sits right
at the corner of West 210th Street and Center Ridge Road, will remain
open, according to a site plan Jacobs submitted to Fairview Park.
No offices or residential properties will be part of the new Westgate,
More detailed plans will likely be submitted to the city's planning
commission for its September meeting, Kennedy said.
Rocky River Mayor William Knoble, who had raised objections earlier
this year about a "big-box" shopping center at Westgate, said he
still had concerns.
"I'm pleased that it is going to be redeveloped," Knoble said. "My
concerns are traffic and safety issues."
The mayor fears his city, which borders the mall to the north, will
bear the brunt of traffic coming into the new Westgate.
"That area is not set up for a regional draw," Knoble said. "How
are people going to get there? I-90."
Rocky River may also incur costs from a rejuvenated retail center,
Knoble said, as the city's police and fire departments often must
respond to emergency calls emanating from Westgate.
Possible financial compensation to Rocky River is an issue Knoble
would like to see put on the table before the retail center is built.
"If I'm not getting any taxes out of it and we have to add one or
two more additional police or fire personnel, I'm sure the residents
of Rocky River aren't going to be very happy about it," Knoble said.
artistís rendition of the new Westgate retail center. (Drawing
courtesy of The Richard E. Jacobs Group)