BOARDMAN, Ohio – A placard just inside the doors leading into the Southern Park Mall from the newly minted DeBartolo Commons points to a novel direction for the shopping complex’s future: “Ideas Welcome, Locals Wanted.”
The $30 million DeBartolo Commons is almost entirely geared to a local presence. Aside from an expansive outdoor soccer field and amphitheater, three new locally owned businesses inside the mall – Steel Valley Brew Works, The Bunker, and Double Bogey’s – are set to open soon.
The development, which celebrated a ribbon-cutting in October, signals the national trend on how malls are adapting to changing consumer tastes – less retail and more community options.
Southern Park Mall owner Washington Prime Group, a real estate investment trust based in Columbus, announced in April 2018 that it would raze the former Sears department store at the mall, construct an entirely new section, and develop an outdoor multipurpose entertainment and community hub.
Demolition work began on the project in September 2019.
“When the mall approached me two years ago and started to talk to me about what they were doing, I said we needed an indoor golf simulator and restaurant,” says Jonah Karzmer, owner of The Bunker. “They said, ‘It sounds great, so do it.’ ”
The sports-oriented establishment features indoor golf simulators, as well as food and beverages provided by Double Bogey’s, an expansion of Bogey’s restaurant in Lowellville. An opening date has not been set.
“I’m a Boardman High School graduate,” Karzmer says. “The mall’s always been an important part of the community and I was excited to be a part of the conversation.”
Pictured: Jonah Karzmer, owner, and Nancy Sullivan, director of sales, at The Bunker in Southern Park Mall. The indoor golf simulator and restaurant will open soon.