May 03, 2010

Mall that spawned "The Club" to be sold; redeveloped

Necessity is the mother of invention, or so it's said. Unfortunately for Randall Park Mall, once the largest shopping center in the US, that necessity was to protect your car from being stolen. According to Wikipedia, The Club was invented after a shopper's car was stolen from the mall's parking lot. And so goes the story of a mall fondly remembered for its vast shopping areas with endless stores and common areas that housed kids rides and Santa. It was finally closed in March 2009, but had long been a bastion of vacancy, with J.C. Penney starting the hiatus by switching from a full-service store to an outlet in 1998 and finally leaving all together in 2001.

But the world of real estate is one of missed opportunities or bad management to the enrichment of others. According to The Plain Dealer, Randall Park may be getting a well-needed makeover. Devland Holdings LLC (run by principals Neill Bernstein and Terry Brenner) is reportedly buying the mall for about $5 million and may push as much as $60 million into redeveloping it, albeit not as retail. The New York-based firm plans on some mixed-use that would include light manufacturing and research and development.

Whatever the use, it would be great to see some activity once again in North Randall that doesn't include gangs or cops. Though there has been a lot of pain throughout the real estate debacle, there are certainly going to be some bright spots. Let's hope this is one of them.


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