Portage Crossing Announcement Delayed; Menards Reportedly Stricken From Contract
In an unexpected move, Cuyahoga Falls officials requested for City Council to postpone any discussion on the proposed retail development; however some details were offered on the negotiations between the city and developer Stark Enterprises.
Updated Nov. 19, 11:44 p.m.
Those eager to find out what's in store for the proposed Portage Crossing development will probably have to wait until early December.
At Monday's meeting, Ward 5 Councilwoman Diana Colavecchio introduced iegislation that would have detailed some of the changes planned for Portage Crossing; however, council members were unable to discuss the ordinance publicly per the request of Mayor Don Robart's administration.
The move to table discussion till Dec. 3 came Monday evening as negotiations between the city and developer Stark Enterprises are still ongoing, said Colavecchio.
"...Just when you believe the plan is set in stone, another change emerges and that triggers other actions," said Cuyahoga Falls Development Director Sue Truby. "...I remain confident that our project will succeed, and that you will be pleased with the final project."
Language in the tabled legislation reportedly suggests two major changes: the introduction of a 40,000-square-foot movie theater and the reported omission of Menards from the language of the Portage Crossing contract.
The mayor offered words of warning to the media to be weary of what it reports on the future of Menards, saying, "There's no indication whatsoever that (Menards or Giant Eagle) are leaving. Now, we can't announce that they're going to be here or where they're going to be because we don't have final contracts..."
On Monday morning, the Akron Beacon Journal reported "the deal with Menards fell through because the owner of nearby outlots, which include fast food restaurants, a bank and a Pizza Hut, wants $3.5 million for the land under Pizza Hut."
According to Truby, Menards required that additional land to build the sprawling 236,000-square-foot, two-story retail structure.
Once plans for the mega do-it-yourself store were reportedly scrapped, city officials' interest shifted to building a movie theater. But since the theater will likely be six times smaller than the proposed Menards structure, the tax increment financing (TIF) plan that would cover the cost of the project must be reworked.
However, per Robart's comments, Menards could be built elsewhere in Cuyahoga Falls, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
While council members urged patience on the deal, a handful of the roughly 100 people in attendance offered public comments and aired frustration.
"This project is kind of like waiting for the coming of Christ," said Falls resident Gary Motta.
As it stands, Portage Crossing is a one-phase, 400,000-square-foot project, which is expected to cost around $60 million.
Giant Eagle, Michael Symon’s B Spot, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and Pet Supplies Plus have reportedly signed on.
Plans call for construction to begin where the former State Road Shopping Center once stood at the corner of Portage Trail and State Road.