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Portage Crossing: Developer Works to Finalize Land Deal, Councilwoman Criticizes Giant Eagle Swap

If all goes as planned, Stark Enterprises will break ground on Portage Crossing this summer, but Councilwoman Carol Klinger is displeased over the plan to move Giant Eagle one block from Graham Road to the new retail center.

On Monday, the Falls City Council approved a measure, 10-1, giving Robert Stark more time to purchase city-owned land for the planned Portage Crossing development.

Stark, owner and CEO of Stark Enterprises, asked for the extension while he finalizes leasing agreements and works to sign on eight to 12 more tenants that will occupy the remaining 10 percent of the outdoor retail center.

As it stands, and Giant Eagle will act as the anchor stores for the 400,000 sq. ft. development, and will be joined by the likes of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Panera Bread and Pet Supplies Plus.

Of the 11 council members, Carol Klinger was the only one to vote against the time extension measure.

Before the vote, she read a statement voicing both excitement and concern over the project. One of her main criticisms regarded the planned closure of the Graham Road Giant Eagle to make way for the new one at Portage Crossing.

“More than two years ago, we were promised a development that would bring new businesses and jobs to the city,” said Klinger. “Based on that information, we previously approved significant tax reductions for this development, only to learn that we will relocate one of the larger businesses one block.”

Klinger continued saying the proposed Giant Eagle swap will only create a larger burden for taxpayers.

At an April 16 committee meeting, Cuyahoga Falls Director of Development Sue Truby said the city is working with Giant Eagle in finding a solution to avoid another vacant retail space on Graham Road.

Construction of the $60 million Portage Crossing development is set to begin this summer with a spring 2014 completion date.

What's your take on the plan to move Giant Eagle from Graham Road to Portage Crossing?

Miranda Terry April 24, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Living in Cuyahoga Falls is great. I am happy about Portage Crossing, but even I was upset hearing that Giant Eagle would be an anchor. Why? Go a mile up the road and the old Topps building is still vacant, Sears Hardware is too, so why have another building on the same street sit vacant? It makes that side of town look bad, no matter how great Portage Crossing will be. Why not bring in Kohls, not another grocery store. Leave Giant Eagle where it is. Love that ACME is doing a remodel and then Marcs across the street is fine. I think it's sad to move and leave an empty building! Hey, knock it down and start thinking of building a new High School then, and have Giant Eagle help pay for it!
Tammy L. Pinter April 24, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I do not agree with a grocery store being one of the anchor stores! Giant Eagle should not be allowed to enter into the new space unless they find an equal or better store to occupy their current space. The entire point was "new business" not relocation of existing businesses.
Don April 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Ms. Klinger has once again spoken out of both sides of her mouth. She says she is excited about the development, but if her "NO" vote had carried, Portage Crossing would have died. Giant Eagle will still pay property taxes to the Woodridge School district on the old store until and unless the Summit County Auditor reappraises the property. It has ALWAYS been contemplated that either Acme or Giant Eagle would move and those employment numbers have been figured into the project. For those that are disappointed that their "favorite" store is not listed, this is still a free country and while many stores were asked, not every store fits the demographics of the area and chose to not join the venture. Nor can the developer or anyone else "force" anyone to open a business where they do not want to. I think that the developer is to be commended to undertaking a major project of this size when the economy of the country is "difficult", and his plans to be able to finish the project 2 years ahead of the original schedule is amazing. I am looking forward to the completion of this project to once again add another reason for people wanting to live in Cuyahoga Falls.
Elina Menendez April 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM
A grocery store and a Lowes clone as anchors? Chapel Hill already has that. So far the only thing of interest to me is Michael Symon's B Spot. Another Paneras? Chipotle Mexican Grill? Frozen custard? Oh, please! You don't have to go more than 5 minutes away to get to one of those. I am particularly disappointed at Giant Eagle deciding to just up and leave another empty building on Graham Road. How about remodeling their existing space? As another poster already mentioned, the Topps and Sears Hardware buildings are still vacant on Graham Road. Portage Crossings was supposed to bring new businesses to the area but so far is all more of the same.
Robin Anderson April 25, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I wonder if the new Menard's will be allowed to place pallets full of mulch & fertilizer on sale in the parking lot surrounding their area of our new "upscale" retail development, a-la their two major competitors?
Rick Bonath April 25, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I would have to agree with Ms. Klinger to a point. It would be counter-productive for yet another building to be sitting vacant in this area. I commend Ms. Klinger for standing up for what she believes in. As for Kohl's or other like stores that dot the map everywhere in this county, Get new stores into this area. Cabela's was going to build in Boston Heights a few years back. See if there is still an interest there with Cabela's. Bass Pro Shop could be another. Harbor Freight could fill the empty Giant Eagle store. With the same stores dotting Summit County and our economy struggling, another group of like stores shouldn't be part of the equation for this venture. To fill these vacancies before they are even built I can totally understand. To fill these vacancies insightfully would make this project a solid endeavor. To many times chain stores close because of a failing economy, lack of consumers interest or building to close to another of their own chain. Get new stores that will draw in people from all over this area and other areas. Make this mall something that makes people want to come hear and tell others, after they have been here, how fantastic their visit was!
Jeff Johnson April 25, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Once again Ms. Klinger is the only one on Cuyahoga City Council who has the ability to use critical thinking and speak the truth. The rest of that group are mindless clones of Don Robart who are terrified from saying anything their great dictator wants them to say. Until Robart is gone, this city will continue to be run like a dictatorship instead of a democracy. Our development director should understand it's not a move forward when you end up with even more vacant real-estate in our city. This State road plan has been a Giant Boon-doggle for the Cuyahoga Falls Taxpayer. I'm sure the Don mentioned above it the close friend of Mr. Robarts who has no business being involved in city politics since he to seems to be a bitter old man.
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 03:57 AM
I agree with a few of your points, but think the project is worth a shot. Also, don't forget the council people here voted for this. I don't think there's a single good council person in the falls, maybe the newer ones can be that were recently elected.
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 03:59 AM
While I do agree it's disappointing that Giant Eagle is doing a Relocation across the street, this was most people's concern and of course Stark Ent really does not care how this may impact the community in a negative way as long as they profit from this. Klinger and the rest of council could have requested a stipulation that would keep current businesses from reallocation if they did not provide a plan with the current property to have it leased out in a certain time frame. Portage Crossings is overall a win for the city and while I don't like the fact that Giant Eagle is moving, we are still getting Panera, bspot, Menards, etc.....and Acme is remodeling on State road. I think the mayor and council could have probably taken certain precautions to avoid GE/ Acme from just moving but they did not and this is what we are left with. Let's just hope something positive can happen with the empty GE building.
Jack Kelly April 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Dear Mr. Stark, Please just leave Cuyahoga Falls and take this project somewhere else. Hey, we have a long-vacant shopping center in Stow that is run by a slumlord. You can bring Portage Crossing to Stow because it's apparent that the only thing the people in Cuyahoga Falls are able to do is complain and show how unappreciative they are, along with their ignorance.
Jack Kelly April 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Clearly everyone in Cuyahoga Falls is clueless and whiny. This is just further proof. You know what? CF is not deserving of this place. You're deserving of the dump that was called State Rd. Shopping Center. All so many of you been doing is being ungrateful complainers. You are not getting "more of the same." Menards is a destination and the closest one is 45 minutes South. Michael Symon's place is another destination. To further prove how clueless many of you are -- including the Councilwoman-- Giant Eagle is making AN INVESTMENT (open a dictionary to learn what that means) by building a BIGGER store (meaning MORE employees being hired) and this store is a concept-like store; unlike any other they have in Ohio, IIRC. Another thing you people don't seem to get is once this place is up, the retail real estate in the area will become in demand because that area will now become a "draw" -- unlike it was for years! One thing that will NOT go into that old GE store will be a grocery store. It shouldn't be vacant that long.
Jack Kelly April 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Finally. Someone who gets it and has some intelligence into basic business.
Jack Kelly April 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM
It's people like YOU who are in no position to be telling people like a Development Director what they "should understand" when, in fact, you don't.
Jack Kelly April 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Really? "Requested stipulation" to prevent a PRIVATE business from relocating? Especially one that is INVESTING in the city by building a larger, one-of-a-kind grocery store in Cuyahoga Falls that is unlike any GE in Ohio? Take "certain precautions" to prevent GE and/or Acme from just moving? You can't be serious with both of those. Oh, you are. Could you be any more business UN-friendly? (which is an image CF kinda has right now). If a business wants to relocate, they have every right to. Or, you can be very unfriendly to business and watch them pack up and head elsewhere. Taking their tax base with them.
Miranda Terry April 26, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Dear Mr. Kelly, I do feel I am an educated resident of Cuyahoga Falls. If I didn't care, I wouldn't say anything at all. But I do care and have the right to voice my concern. I feel as though you are missing the point that while a move one block by Giant Eagle will produce more jobs (positive) it will leave a vacant building (negative). Does the positive outweigh the negative?... We all hope so. However, due to the fact of the Topps and Sears plaza being vacant, people have their concerns. Of course everyone has a "favorite" store they'd love to see at Portage Crossing and and not everyone will be happy. The big picture is that the city is going to improve, grow and have a beautiful shopping center. Have a good day!
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 01:06 PM
WOW - Don't be so senstive JACK, we are all expressing opinions and while I get your point and agree this is a win for the city, there's nothing wrong with communicating our concerns to the bussinesses and explainging our position. After all this is not charity work that they are doing, they've made a small fortune in the falls and owe it to the people to work out a win/win. I never said anything about preventing anybody from moving, just simply that there needs to be some type of blueprint in place to avoid leaving an empty building and this includes the companies that wants to move. Also, they are not going to just " pack up and go" C falls is very profitable to the chains here. This is why I hate these boards, people really don't respect each others opinions and act like children. P Crossings is great and will be successful, but it's still possibly going to leave a big vacant property, I still think GE may find someone to go in there, fitness center etc....
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM
One thing I agree with Jack Kelly on is that the people that post here are very one-sided and negative. This is a huge win for the city that's going to bring in revenue and good retailers. I think we all knew a 3rd major grocery store was out if the question in this city, that it would be acme or GE if p crossings was approved. I am very suprised that some people keep critcizing this project, it was a ghetto before and now it's going to be one of the nicer parts of the city. Also, Menards, Bspot, Panera would not make this move unless they knew the demo here would support it. It's a great step in the right direction.
Rick Bonath April 26, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Eat a Snicker's bar because you are starting to sound like Betty White!
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Lame reply rick -)
Mr.Negative April 26, 2012 at 06:15 PM
wmfr, you woke Jack up, now you will pay!!!!!!!!!!!11
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Hope not. I am not trying to upset anybody on here. Just like everyone else and want my city to thrive and grow.
Rick Bonath April 26, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I guess it was on the lame side but I was sick and tired of hearing these people called whiney, ignorant, unappreciative, ungratful, clueless and so on by one person. You don't have to agree with what we say, Kelly, but you don't have to act childish about this whole deal, either. Agree to disagree and be done with it! Miranda, we have had this discussion before about the stores, kinda sorta! lol
Miranda Terry April 26, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Like I said I am excited for the great things this will do for our city but I do hope that the old Giant Eagle gets filled quickly. I heard a rumor about a Giant Eagle distribution center going there... Ok good, not empty. For all we know there is already a plan for the building. I truly just want nothing but great things to come from Portage Crossing. I hope the next focus for our city are the schools and getting them updated. Smile all, it's almost the weekend!
wmfr April 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Yea, I know there's so many sides and argurments. At least we're all engaged though. I was just busting your chops Rick =-)
Jack Kelly April 27, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Aww...I see I hurt some people's feeling because I called some of you out for your CONSTANT negativity regarding this project. The fact is, many people who've been commenting have shown their clueless. You don't need a college degree to figure out BASIC BUSINESS. From the moment that State Rd. was going to come down, everyone kept bashing and complaining that it was never going to be built and so on. And now that it is & many people are eating crow, and an impressive listing of stores -- thus far -- have been released, now people are complaining because there the stores that are coming are not what THEY expected. OH yeah, I'm being "childish." Get the hell over yourselves. This place will bring in more money to the city than State Rd has in a decade-plus. If you don't want to be referred to as clueless, etc., then don't act like it. Easy peasy.
Jack Kelly April 27, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Do you know how difficult it is to fill a vacant store the size of Tops? Esp. when it was built specifically FOR Tops? Plus, you have a Walmart right across the street. (it could also be very possible that the rent is too high there, too, or there could be other issues w/the center owner, too). The "current" GE shouldn't be that difficult to fill because it's a pretty basic structure, per se. No, I'm not missing any point at all. What people are not doing is seeing the BIGGER picture from all of this. As I've said, once Portage Crossing is up and running, that area is going to become prime. Which is why I don't expect the current GE to be vacant long because that area will become a "draw." And, with the increased traffic on Graham between Rt 8 and State Rd this center will bring, it could benefit that Stow-Falls Center, too.
wmfr April 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I love how Jack Kelly uses caps, I can see his face turning red as he types away.

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