Developer Stark Enterprises submitted its Portage Crossing major site plans to the Cuyahoga Falls Planning Commission this week, bringing the much-anticipated retail center a little closer to breaking ground.
Fred Guerra, the city's planning and zoning director, will begin studying the plans next week to ensure building design and landscaping plans, in particular, comply with city codes.
Other design plans will be reviewed as well, like: lighting, parking, storm water runoff and engineering details.
The application will be reviewed, and possibly approved, at the next planning commission meeting on May 7, said Guerra.
If commission members give Stark the green light, site plans will then go before the Cuyahoga Falls City Council for final approval.
Portage Crossing, a proposed 256,000-square-foot retail center, would be constructed on about 25 acres at Portage Trail where the former State Road Shopping Center once stood.
From here to groundbreaking
Site plans aside, the city and Stark are working jointly to settle legal matters, easements with adjoining property owners and EPA issues, said Cuyahoga Falls Development Director Sue Truby during a March 25 Council meeting.
Also, for the last several months, Stark has been finalizing lease agreements with several businesses, including Cinemark, which intends to build a 10-screen movie theatre to anchor the northern end of Portage Crossing, Mayor Don Robart told the Falls News-Press.
A 92,000-square-foot Giant Eagle would anchor the southern end.
Original blueprints called for Menards and Giant Eagle to anchor Portage Crossing, but plans were sidetracked in November when Stark and Cuyahoga Falls officials were unable to clear room for the proposed 240,000-square-foot, two-story home improvement store after the owner of a nearby Pizza Hut refused to sell his land.
Truby told the Falls News-Press that Stark planned to tear down the State Road Pizza Hut and pay for building a new Pizza Hut "on Portage Trail within the Portage Crossing envelope."
New plans under discussion may allow for a Menards store to be constructed elsewhere in the city.
During his Feb. 27 state of the city address, Robart predicted construction crews would break ground on Portage Crossing by spring once all issues and deals were settled.