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Richmond Heights: Richmond Town Square Redevelopment

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Developer proposes $70M mixed-use plan in Richmond Heights, Ohio

Published on October 9, 2018

Stan Bullard

 

A $70 million Richmond Heights mixed-use development is planned by Los Angeles-based real estate developer DealPoint Merrill, which just acquired the closed Sears store at Richmond Town Square mall.

 

DealPoint said in a news release that it plans to use the 23 acres currently occupied by the department store and associated parking for a 375-unit luxury apartment, a 98-room hotel and a restaurant. The new apartments will have ground-floor retail in addition to a combination of tenant amenities, a plaza and a public park.

 

Through an affiliate, Richmond Heights Town Square Owner LLC, the real estate developer on Oct. 3 bought the Sears store, 622 Richmond Road, and associated land used for parking for $1.8 million, according to online records of the Cuyahoga County fiscal office. The county assigned the property a $2.38 million market value for tax purposes. The county assigned $1.2 million of the value to the building, which the new owner plans to demolish.

 

MORE:

https://www.crainscleveland.com/real-estate/developer-plans-70-million-mixed-use-project-richmond-heights


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Well... good luck to them then. I have a lot of wonderful memories at Richmond Mall and would hate to see it go the way of the Euclid's or Randall's.

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Me too. I walked and rode my bike there from home when I lived nearby from 1967-78.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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22 hours ago, TBideon said:

Well... good luck to them then. I have a lot of wonderful memories at Richmond Mall and would hate to see it go the way of the Euclid's or Randall's.

Actually,

 

I wouldn't mind if it turned out how Euclid or Randall are TODAY. Aside from the movie theater, it's pretty much already where Randall and Euclid are before they closed for good.

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It's always good to see out-of-town money pour into NEO.  This is a vote of confidence for Richmond Heights, as it stops a retail brownfield from festering (Macy's closed in 2015, Sears in early 2017, and JCPenney in mid-2017).  If I had to compare it to the other dead malls in the region, I'd say Parmatown, which went from an indoor mall to an outdoor lifestyle center.  But this project has the added benefit of mixed-use, and is ambitious for a smaller, almost inner-ring suburb.  The 375-unit luxury apartments will offer the benefit of residential growth to a city that was built out over 50 years ago and also introduce foot traffic to the new and existing retail on site.  Even more of a wild card is the hotel.  The developer may know something we don't, because this is an odd location for a hotel with no direct highway proximity.  My guess is that they are banking on the county airport (located 2 miles due north of the mall).  Progressive also has an office park 2 miles east at Wilson Mills and 271, which is itself growing quickly.  That area is already saturated with hotels, however.

 

It sounds like they're moving fast on this project, and I really hope it takes off.  The empty JCPenney building still remains and the mall itself is mostly empty.  Adding full-time residents and hotel guests to the site could be a game-changer for future development.  There's also a mostly-empty shopping plaza (Hilltop) across the street that could benefit from spillover development.

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1 hour ago, Down_with_Ctown said:

It's always good to see out-of-town money pour into NEO.  This is a vote of confidence for Richmond Heights, as it stops a retail brownfield from festering (Macy's closed in 2015, Sears in early 2017, and JCPenney in mid-2017).  If I had to compare it to the other dead malls in the region, I'd say Parmatown, which went from an indoor mall to an outdoor lifestyle center.  But this project has the added benefit of mixed-use, and is ambitious for a smaller, almost inner-ring suburb.  The 375-unit luxury apartments will offer the benefit of residential growth to a city that was built out over 50 years ago and also introduce foot traffic to the new and existing retail on site.  Even more of a wild card is the hotel.  The developer may know something we don't, because this is an odd location for a hotel with no direct highway proximity.  My guess is that they are banking on the county airport (located 2 miles due north of the mall).  Progressive also has an office park 2 miles east at Wilson Mills and 271, which is itself growing quickly.  That area is already saturated with hotels, however.

 

It sounds like they're moving fast on this project, and I really hope it takes off.  The empty JCPenney building still remains and the mall itself is mostly empty.  Adding full-time residents and hotel guests to the site could be a game-changer for future development.  There's also a mostly-empty shopping plaza (Hilltop) across the street that could benefit from spillover development.

 

Actually neighborhoods in Richmond Heights were just really getting started being built in the 1960s. There are several subdivisions built in the mid 70s and 80s as well as at least three built in the 90s and early 2000s. There are currently four active subdivisions in the city now.

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Some recent-ish (newer than last October) news about this project, now called Belle Oaks at Richmond:

 

Zoning board approves variance for a seventh Belle Oaks apartment building; Richmond Heights ranked 36th in Ohio for safety

 

mentions SEARS demolition starting January!

richmond.thumb.png.4e336c473c17249ea65e4a40bb97708a.png

 

they have their own website: https://belleoaksrichmond.com/

 

Here is the scope of the project: Belle Oaks at Richmond "Thoughtful Living"

 

Here is a nifty video! Youtube video rendering

 

My only wish would be for the residential buildings to have covered and hidden garage parking, but this is the suburbs and construction costs for that are most likely the reason.

 

I love all of the parkland and trails the developer is incorporating into the site, and that central plaza area will be really cool for the city.

 

There is also plenty of developable area left on the mall site and across Richmond Road for the future if this project fills up.

 

This is HUGE for Richmond Heights, and I'm really excited about this project! Over 360 new apartments and some new retail! YAY!🥳

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Quote

The Belle Oaks at Richmond mixed-use development being planned for the Richmond Town Square mall site had recently been described as a $90 million project. That has changed in a big way.


Growing to $195 million 65-acre development. More here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cleveland.com/community/2019/10/richmond-heights-mall-redevelopment-plans-grow-from-90-million-project-to-one-worth-195-million-site-to-have-more-than-700-new-apartments-townhouses.html%3foutputType=amp

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Sale of Richmond Town Square mall, demolition coming soon

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- After the news arrived last week that the Belle Oaks at Richmond project had increased in value from $90 million to $195 million, more news comes that the sale of the Richmond Town Square mall site to developer DealPoint Merrill is expected to come soon, and that work on the project could be sped up.

DealPoint Merrill CEO David Frank appeared Tuesday (Oct. 29) night at a Richmond Heights Community Conversations event at the Kiwanis Lodge at Richmond Heights Community Park. Frank spoke individually with city leaders and residents while showing off designs for a second phase of plans.

Eventually, the entire mall will be demolished, with the exception of the CubeSmart and the Regal Cinema, which is now negotiating with DealPoint Merrill to remain at the mall site. Where the mall now stands will be 300-plus new luxury apartments and a few townhouses, which will also be leased. Parking will be constructed underground, under these apartments.

 

I actually was hoping that the mall would stay with retail also being established in the new buildings, creating an environment similar to Easton mall in Columbus.

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12 hours ago, MyPhoneDead said:

Sale of Richmond Town Square mall, demolition coming soon

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- After the news arrived last week that the Belle Oaks at Richmond project had increased in value from $90 million to $195 million, more news comes that the sale of the Richmond Town Square mall site to developer DealPoint Merrill is expected to come soon, and that work on the project could be sped up.

DealPoint Merrill CEO David Frank appeared Tuesday (Oct. 29) night at a Richmond Heights Community Conversations event at the Kiwanis Lodge at Richmond Heights Community Park. Frank spoke individually with city leaders and residents while showing off designs for a second phase of plans.

Eventually, the entire mall will be demolished, with the exception of the CubeSmart and the Regal Cinema, which is now negotiating with DealPoint Merrill to remain at the mall site. Where the mall now stands will be 300-plus new luxury apartments and a few townhouses, which will also be leased. Parking will be constructed underground, under these apartments.

 

I actually was hoping that the mall would stay with retail also being established in the new buildings, creating an environment similar to Easton mall in Columbus.

I agree, That mall is not in bad shape, it is just kind of empty. Strange that they are replacing the core of the mall with an outdoor version of the mall with apartments above... why not just keep the core so it has a roof, but then again it's not my money. They mention keeping the Cubesmart and movie theatre, but how about the Planet Fitness? That seems like a selling feature to want to live near to me? I have faith in their plan.

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Boy, Deal Point Merrill sure *hearts* Richmond Heights/Hillcrest.  From a $8M or so "investment" four years ago to turn the empty Macy's building into a giant self-storage box, the company's L.A. management has steadily pledged hundreds of millions of dollars of future investment.  Something in the city and neighborhood must have piqued their interest.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall during those discussions.

 

Say what you will about NEO's sprawl and overbuilt retail market, but this region has had incredible luck with its dead malls.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single empty mall currently rotting away in a cavernous parking lot.  Randall Park and Euclid are Amazon fulfillment centers, Westgate and Parmatown are fully-occupied outdoor lifestyle centers, and now Richmond Town Square is going mixed use.  Beachwood, South Park, Great Lakes, and Great Northern are very much live malls.  About the only major retail casualty is Severance, and even that property had a "second life" of about 15 years before falling on hard times (which was entirely due to South Euclid's poaching of Wal Mart).  Even the current Severance, though, has Home Depot, Office Max, Marshall's, and a fully occupied strip mall.  If the city could get lucky with a new owner, the nearby City Hall, medical building, Metro inpatient facility, and great location could see some exciting changes.

Edited by Down_with_Ctown
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1 hour ago, Down_with_Ctown said:

Boy, Deal Point Merrill sure *hearts* Richmond Heights/Hillcrest.  From a $8M or so "investment" four years ago to turn the empty Macy's building into a giant self-storage box, the company's L.A. management has steadily pledged hundreds of millions of dollars of future investment.  Something in the city and neighborhood must have piqued their interest.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall during those discussions.

 

Say what you will about NEO's sprawl and overbuilt retail market, but this region has had incredible luck with its dead malls.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single empty mall currently rotting away in a cavernous parking lot.  Randall Park and Euclid are Amazon fulfillment centers, Westgate and Parmatown are fully-occupied outdoor lifestyle centers, and now Richmond Town Square is going mixed use.  Beachwood, South Park, Great Lakes, and Great Northern are very much live malls.  About the only major retail casualty is Severance, and even that property had a "second life" of about 15 years before falling on hard times (which was entirely due to South Euclid's poaching of Wal Mart).  Even the current Severance, though, has Home Depot, Office Max, Marshall's, and a fully occupied strip mall.  If the city could get lucky with a new owner, the nearby City Hall, medical building, Metro inpatient facility, and great location could see some exciting changes.

Maybe Merrill just recognizes something the local and likewise “rust belt” developers can’t see. I’ve always felt that as markets like Cleveland are ignored, the demand would build up to a point to where outsiders would start to seize opportunities. 
Good for them, and good for RHts!!

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Some updates on the Richmond Town Square redevelopment.

 

Quote

Richmond Heights Planning Commission OKs mall redevelopment landscape, lighting plan
By Jeff Piorkowski/special to cleveland.com

 

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The city's Planning & Zoning Commission voted Wednesday (Jan. 😎 to recommend to City Council the landscaping and lighting plan for the Belle Oaks at Richmond mixed-use development planned for Richmond Town Square.

 

The commission also got a preview of the development's big second phase, which will include seven Class A apartment buildings holding about 340 units. All five buildings will feature underground garages.

 

Together with the first phase, the $200 million project is planned to bring 791 new apartments to the 69.2-acre Richmond Town Square mall site. In all, 13 new buildings will be constructed in two phases, as well as a first-phase “central park,” complete with a “water feature” or large pond; an outdoor swimming pool with outdoor grilling; a Jacuzzi and hot tub and ample space on the pools' deck for lounging; a dog park; a lighted walking trail circling the entire development; and more.

...

 

https://www.cleveland.com/community/2020/01/richmond-heights-planning-commission-oks-mall-redevelopment-landscape-lighting-plan-gets-preview-of-second-phase-work.html

 

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It will be interesting to see exactly how much retail makes it into this very residential--but still mixed use--project.  Retail in the eastern suburbs has slowly moving south and east for years, and has started to consolidate more and more around Beachwood/Legacy and Eton/Pinecrest as the two main poles.  (Cedar Center North and South plus Oakwood Commons have done relatively well catering to Cleveland Hts., University Hts., and South Euclid, just on a less pricier scale.  Also, Eastgate, Golden Gate and the nearby Mayfield Road corridor have thrived further east).  

 

Obviously, there's no room for the old Euclid Square Mall and Richmond Town Square in this reconfigured retail landscape.  However, there is at least theoretically some room for new shops, stores and restaurants in this development, especially when you're adding over 700 new Class A, 1-2 BR apartment units to the neighborhood.  There's also a lot of room in the nearby strip mall Hilltop Plaza (on Wilson Mills, across the street from Regal Cinemas and the old JCPenney building).  Let's see (i) how much retail s.f. winds up being built for this property and (ii) what the tenant mix will be.  

Edited by Down_with_Ctown
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"In response to schools, Belle Oaks [Richmond Town Square] developer says without abatement, there is no project"

 

https://www.cleveland.com/community/2020/02/in-response-to-schools-belle-oaks-developer-says-without-abatement-there-is-no-project.html

 

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- David Frank, CEO of Richmond Town Square redeveloper DealPoint Merrill, responded with a written statement Friday (Feb. 7) to comments made by Richmond Heights City Schools Superintendent Renee Willis during her state-of-the schools presentation on Thursday (Feb. 6).

 

In Frank’s statement, he said that tax abatement is essential to satisfying the project’s bondholders and that, without their support, there will be no project.

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They would be foolish to deny the abatement and kill this project. This is a transformative project for Richmond and if successful could lead to spinoffs around an area that has definitely seen better days.

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2 hours ago, willyboy said:

They are not going to get a better opportunity that is for sure.  

 

To put things into perspective, if this development weighs in at over $200 million and Sherwin-Williams is publicly stating a commitment of at least $600 million, Richmond Heights should certainly be thankful such a holistic redevelopment plan is in place. Between underground parking, public green space, lighting, and other plan aspects, it doesn't quite feel like the city has much leverage when pushed.

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I just find it so laughable that she is basing the opposition to this project on there being nearly 200 school aged children living in the 300 apartments in phase one. Did I read that right? I don't even think they're proposing enough two bedroom units to make that even remotely possible.

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2 minutes ago, PoshSteve said:

I just find it so laughable that she is basing the opposition to this project on there being nearly 200 school aged children living in the 300 apartments in phase one. Did I read that right? I don't even think they're proposing enough two bedroom units to make that even remotely possible.

 

The fact the property is bisected by the two school districts serving the city is interesting...but given that the article states the majority of the project lies in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst district, wouldn't it stand to reason that her district is impacted less by the TIF? I didn't reference the site plans, but are all of the 300 units in the first phase in her district? Prior to the announcement of this project, I would have considered a "success" for the Richmond Mall to be mirroring the Great Lakes Mall's Community Entertainment District. Surely anything beats a vacant mall anchored by a Planet Fitness.

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13 hours ago, infrafreak said:

 

The fact the property is bisected by the two school districts serving the city is interesting...but given that the article states the majority of the project lies in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst district, wouldn't it stand to reason that her district is impacted less by the TIF? I didn't reference the site plans, but are all of the 300 units in the first phase in her district? Prior to the announcement of this project, I would have considered a "success" for the Richmond Mall to be mirroring the Great Lakes Mall's Community Entertainment District. Surely anything beats a vacant mall anchored by a Planet Fitness.

 

In her comments she stated everything north of the current Sears is in RH; south of this is SEL. If that's true it would mean the line is right around Hillary Lane west of this development.  There was an earky-90s condo development south of Hillary Ln that is also in the district which means the line might jog south to encompass those units.  OR, possible she meant that Sears is included and thus we can say everything north of the theater is in RH. Either all or the majority of phase 1 is in the RH district. 

 

I do not think this development is targeted at families with school age children. This is empty nest baby boomers, downsizers, etc, and younger professionals working along the i-271 corridor who do not want to buy a home but are not satisfied with the largely outdated apartment offerings on the east side. There will be new children in the district but there will also be new amenities and retail which one would hope will lift the value of the surrounding area. Who wants to live near a dead mall in a mediocre at best school district where their voucher status is in flux? 

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The city is very much strongly behind this development, to the point where they've had folks from City Hall responding to the naysayers of cleveland.com for the past several months.  Also, it's been reported that the developer (DealPoint Merrill) hired one of the city's economic development people a few years ago.  I think, despite the protests of the Superintendent, the Mayor and Council will push this deal through--as well they should.  What other inner ring suburb would look a $200M gift horse investment in the mouth?

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