Avon Commons mix of stores still growing

FEATURE ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 10-21-00, By CRIS GLASER, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON -- The roster of stores and restaurants is continuing to grow for the $65 million Avon Commons shopping complex slated to open in March [2001].

The 33 companies who are signed on as tenants include Eddie Bauer, Men's Warehouse, Payless Shoe Source, Bath & Body Works, Best Cuts, Alvin's Jewelers, Red Robin Restaurant, Caribou Coffee, Arby's, Radio Shack, and Family Toy Warehouse, said Mitch Schneider, president of First Interstate Development Co.

With 600,000 square feet of retail space to rent ...

''All small shop space is now 100 percent leased,'' he said. ''Soon, each retailer will be posting on its building a banner with a telephone number people can call for jobs.''

Because of the several hundred jobs the stores will create, the center will generate $600,000 in income tax revenues for Avon's general fund and $1 million for the school system, Schneider said.

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View of Avon Commons from Detroit Road

First Interstate spent $1.85 million to improve the roadway around the center from Chester Road and SR 83 across I-90 to Detroit and Jaycox roads, he said ...

With a tentative March 3 opening, the 126,000 square-foot Target department store will become the first retailer to open and will serve as one of the complex' anchor stores, along with an 87,000-square-foot Kohl's store, a 30,000-square-foot Marshall's fashion outlet and a 25,000-square-foot Old Navy store, Schneider said.

The 107,099-square-foot Home Depot store won't open until the spring of 2002, while a 57,000-square-foot Heinen's supermarket will open in the summer of 2002, he said.

''Heinen's opens only one store a year,'' he said. ''We had to get in line, so we have 18 months to go ...''

On a [re-zoning required] 14-acre parcel of land near the easternmost edge of the shopping center, Schneider said his company now is trying to work out a leasing deal on 100,000 square feet of space for a ''high-end'' retailer ...

Leasing agents also continue to negotiate with four yet-unnamed restaurant chains, Schneider said.

''We have room for three or four more sit-down restaurants,'' he said. ''They'll be along the lines of family-themed restaurants with a steakhouse and a pizza parlor. Something like an Uno or a Longhorn's.''

What the complex especially needs is a franchise to lease space for an ice cream parlor, Schneider said.

''The several restaurants will be in a convenience wing in the most accessible part of the shopping center (off Detroit Road),'' he said. ''There will be patios, tables, umbrellas and chairs surrounded with trees, landscaping and cascading walls. It's going to be a pleasant environment.''

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Another View of Avon Commons from Detroit Road

The landscaping also plays an integral part in the center's ambiance, Schneider said.

''What we've done on the interior is mimic the landscape wall you see on Detroit Road,'' he said. ''There will be a wall in front of each store with its name on it. Not only will they serve as directional landmarks to let you know where you are, but they will have a theme with an aesthetic element that carries through the entire shopping center.''

... The complex features 26 acres of greenspace and nearly six acres of lighted, bench-lined pathway with a two-acre open-air amphitheater and gazebo, fully electrified for amplification of a planned summer Sunday afternoon series of up to eight concerts, Schneider said ...

The amphitheater, approximately 150 feet from the nearest home, won't be surrounded with a sound barrier, Schneider said.

''This won't be for rock and roll,'' he said. ''Maybe a senior quartet or a high school ensemble. We also want to have the first annual Art Walk here where 100 artists from around the country can display their work.''

The company also is organizing an ''antique walk'' with the Avon Antique Association, Schneider said ... "

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 10-25-00, By Mike Ferrari

"The much anticipated and awaited Avon Commons Shopping Center becomes more of a reality every day. Last week, developer Mitchell Schneider, president of First Interstate, answered questions and conducted a walk through of the property.

Schneider announced that several retailers, including Eddie Bauer, Motherhood Maternity, and Bath and Body Works, had committed to the site, in addition to those previously announced.

The total project cost has been estimated at $65 million to complete. The 600,000 square feet of retail space will also include eight out parcel buildings and five restaurants.

The center has taken up 80 acres of land in Avon but has left 26 acres of that space designated as green space in an effort to preserve the natural surroundings of the community.

As part of the agreement, First Interstate has also improved the roads that will feel the most traffic due to the new center. Over $1,850,000 of road improvements has been distributed throughout the city, including Chester Road, SR 83, Detroit Road, Jaycox Road and I-90.

... community events Schneider has planned, including an annual ``Avon Art Walk'' in the summer, antique tours and a series of summer concerts at the amphitheater, performance center and gazebo located near the Middleton Avenue entrance.

Among the long list of retailers and restaurants are Heinen's Grocery Store, opening in the spring of 2002, and Cost Plus World Market scheduled to open in the spring of 2001.

The world of fashion will also be well covered at the shopping center. An Eddie Bauer Outlet, Old Navy clothing store and a Marshall's will all be part of the grand opening.

The Dress Barn, Men's Warehouse, Motherhood Maternity, Famous Footwear and Payless Shoe Source have also been added to the list of fashion retailers at Avon Commons.

Linens n Things, Michael's Crafts and Bath and Body Works will highlight the home accessory stores, while Radio Shack, Family Toy Warehouse and Alvin's Jewelers will also be located in the center.

Kohl's Department Store, Target and Home Depot (opening in the Spring of 2002) will also be available for shoppers.

Five different restaurants include Red Robin, Caribou Coffee, Quizno's Classic Subs, Arby's and four other additional sit down restaurants in the future.

Service-oriented businesses include Alltel, Nail Lacquer, One-hour Martinizing Dry Cleaners, Nutrition Club, Best Cuts and Claire's Accessories ...

``We want the people to come and not only have a place to buy goods and services, but also to enjoy the retail environment we have created.'' ...

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Another View of Avon Commons from Detroit Road

Avon Commons will generate an estimated $1 million per year that will be given back to the Avon Schools. Schneider also said the center would generate an estimated $600,000 of income tax revenue for the city of Avon and it's general fund.

Randy Goodman, of Goodman Real Estate Services of Cleveland, was hired by First Interstate to share the responsibility of getting the majority of tenants together for Avon Commons.

His 14-year-old firm is responsible for the marketing of the project and some of the negotiations that accompany the retail aspect of the incoming businesses ...

Goodman said highway accessibility played an important role in getting the retailers to sign to the lease agreement. The project is the largest that he and his firm have been involved with and he is excited about the potential of the development.

``I'm proud to be a part of this project. Not only is it just an economic engine for our company, the way it is being developed for the community is going to be an asset for years to come,'' Goodman said. ``That is just more than putting some stores up in the parking lot.''

Schneider is pleased with the rate of progress and excited about the opening of the center ..."

Related Stories as of 9-11-00:

Chronoloy of Avon Commons Approvals

GOVERNMENT BY FAVORITISM

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