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Architect: Connecting Upper and Lower Sections Key to Redevelopment of Northway Mall

At a presentation to the Ross Township Planning commission, architect Noel Cupkovic spoke repeatedly of the importance of "connectivity."

It will be months before final plans are presented for the redevelopment of the Shoppes at Northway, more often referred to as the Northway Mall. However, the project's architect has given the Ross Township  planning a commission a glimpse of his vision.

In a word, it's all about "connectivity."

Cleveland based architect Noel L. Cupkovic  told the Planning Commission at its Dec. 20 meeting that connecting the western side of the mall, which is 23 feet above McKnight Road, with the eastern or lower side, is key to the success of the project.

One possibility is a parking garage, on the western side, behind the retail shops, to draw people into the mall complex.

"The concept is to bring the traffic into the mall whether it's open-air or enclosed, to create this connectivity," said Cupkovic. "This connectivity is critical to the success of the mall redevelopment."

Gary O'Nesti, special projects director for mall owner Levey & Company, which purchased the mall and the former Northway Elementary School in December , echoed those sentiments.

"Connectivity is what has been lacking in this mall," he said. "This is a unique project. You're never going to get rid of the ridge. So you've got the strip center in the front and a mall in the back. So what we have to do, and what we believe is the best approach, is to make that connectivity happen." 

O'Nesti said the search for tenants is an ongoing process.

"Our vision is to do a first class regional, retail center that will probably be a hybrid center," he said. "It'll have some mixed uses. We've talked to some office, we've talked to some medical, we've talked to some retail, there's very much a demand and a need for restaurants here, we've seen that and we've had some of those discussions with restaurants."

The next step is to win rezoning of the former Northway Elementary school  from residential to commercial, something the planning commission endorsed. The issue goes before the Ross Township Board of Commissioners on Feb 4.

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McKnightmare January 03, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Is this a convention center or a mall?
Scott Baret January 03, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Connectivity has always been an interesting topic at Northway. Even as a strip mall, A&P was detached from the other stores. I must say, the original architect did a great job connecting the upper level to the lower, although its strip mall roots have been visible since day one. The old Woolworth is probably the greatest achievement in connecting the two parts of the mall. Horne's seems to have been constructed by itself, perhaps developed by its own architect. Keep in mind it doesn't use the same brick as the rest of the mall. However, it's the post-Horne's Northway that has made connectivity a key issue. The atrium level has always felt like a patchwork (especially with the micro escalators) and we now have an elevator to almost nowhere in the historic glass-enclosed structure. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the old food court and also how the new parcel can be connected to the old. The engineering of 1962 was great so it will be interesting to see what can be done of the remaining parts of Northway (which is nowhere near the original mall in terms of accessibility or structure).

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