It’s been nearly two months since Akron-based Levey & Company finalized its purchase of the Shoppes at Northway, more commonly referred to as the Northway Mall. To look at the mall, it would appear very little has changed and little is going on, but behind the scenes is a much different story.
“We’re very busy right now, talking to many potential tenants,” said Gary G. O’Nesti; special projects director Levey & Company. “This process takes time. We have to get prospective tenants to understand the scope of the project.”
O’Nesti says there is no shortage of interest.
“This is a very good location and our chore is to figure out how do we do this right,” he said. “Hopefully we will be adding additional land, which will give us even more room to work with.”
That additional land is the site of the former Northway Elementary School, which Levey & Company purchased in December. The Ross Township Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on whether to rezone that property from residential to commercial on Monday, Feb. 4. The Ross Planning commission recommended approval of the rezoning at its meeting on Dec. 20.
“We hope to give the site what it’s needed for 60 years, room to expand,” said O’Nesti. “One of the shortfalls has always been a lack of parking.”
While still in the design phase, O’Nesti and Cleveland based architect Noel L. Cupkovic have identified several priorities. Among them:
- Connectivity & Parking: One possibility is a parking garage, on the western side, behind the retail shops, to draw people into the mall complex.
- Attractive Design: “It’s very important we articulate what the new mall will be, and that doesn't mean tearing everything down, but rather add flair and flavor to the parts of the mall that best suit our tenants,” said O’Nesti.
- Attracting new and popular restaurants.
O’Nesti and his team will get a chance to roll out many of their plans before thousands of potential tenants at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual real estate convention in Las Vegas in May.
“It’s a three-day open forum where we can showcase our plans and gauge interest among potential tenants,” said O’Nesti. “That will be key in helping us figure out exactly what the new Northway Mall will be.”