Richmond Heights Officials Search for New Uses for Richmond Town Square
When Sears closes its store at Richmond Town Square, the mall will have lost two of its three anchor stores. The city is considering zoning changes to allow non-retail businesses, like medical labs or satellite university campuses to rent space at the mall.
The city's planning commission held a public meeting on the future of the mall on Feb. 8. The aim is to have zoning in place, so potential tenants can move in quickly, city officials have said.
After Sears leaves, JC Penny will be the remaining anchor. Macy’s closed in 2015.
Cleveland State University urban planning professor Robert Simons, says new tenants might improve cash flow. But he cautions the mix could shrink the market reach of the mall, which is struggling against upscale competitors like Legacy Village and Beachwood Place.
“It’s good to have medical offices or live-work space, but those are the types of users that would use the mall rather than attract shoppers to the mall,” he says.
Other retail trends are also hurting the mall, Simons says. Brick-and-mortar stores are failing because more people shop online. And stores targeting middle-class shoppers are having a particularly hard time, he says.
"The luxury top of the market is doing quite well; if you drive by those places the lots are filled up. The bottom end of the market, that are very price sensitive, those are doing okay too. It's the ones in the middle that offer the shopping experience. And the experience isn't that great anymore,"