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Chapel Hill Mall joins list of troubled NEO retail properties
The Akron mall is in foreclosure, while Rolling Acres and Randall Park have been shuttered for years
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Chapel Hill's logo is familiar to Northeast Ohio shoppers, but retail's rapid changes may have led to a decline; the mall entered receivership this month.
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Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall has entered receivership, joining the list of Northeast Ohio’s troubled malls. Tennessee-based CBL & Associates has owned the mall for a decade, and is on the hook for nearly $80 million in loans to U.S. Bankcorp.
A receiver was appointed last week by a Summit County judge. City of Akron Deputy Planning Director Adele Roth says she’ll be speaking with the Michigan-based receivers – McKinley Incorporated – this week.

LISTEN: Roth on mixing it up
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“They have all the right ingredients. They just need to, I think, mix it up a little bit better. And McKinley Properties [is] a well-known and well-respected property management company. And if anybody can turn it around it's going to be them.”

Roth adds that -- looking back -- Chapel Hill was seeing a dip in traffic.

LISTEN: Roth on signs of trouble
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“There’s been some signs [such as] anecdotal information about, maybe, the parking lots are looking a little bare. Or that there haven’t been any really cool events going on there. I think you see really prosperous malls have a lot of- it’s not just the tenants.”

Chapel Hill was opened by Forest City Enterprises in 1967, and was the second enclosed mall in the region. It was the long-time home of Archie the Snowman every Christmas. It also housed the first cinema in Northeast Ohio built from-the-ground-up as a multiplex.

Forest City also built Rolling Acres Mall, opened in 1975. It's been shuttered since 2010 and is headed to a tax auction this fall. Roth says it’s unlikely to be used for retail in the future, and could mirror the surrounding area and be converted for light industrial use. Randall Park Mall, near Cleveland, faces a similar fate, although it houses the thriving PSI auto-repair school.
 
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