New Chapter for Cafaro as Eastwood Turns 50

By Joe Bell, Director of Communications
NILES, Ohio — The Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles is emblematic of the type of work in which the Cafaro organization has always been engaged: Developing and managing retail shopping centers.

Yet in 2018, the company began writing a new chapter in its long history of real estate development initiating the permit process to create a mixed-use development on 103 acres adjacent to the Eastwood property.

Enterprise Park is envisioned as a campus that combines a state-of-the-art hospital, a medical education center, an assisted living memory care facility, professional offices and luxury residential space.

When completed, this project, with an estimated value of $367 million, has the potential to create as many as 2,200 jobs. It would generate approximately $99 million in payroll tax, $6 million in real estate tax and $443,000 in state sales tax every year.

The process of creating Enterprise Park is still in its relatively early stages. After governmental requirements are satisfied, extensive site preparation will install utilities and roadways. Then, it may take several years for all the planned facilities to be up and running. When they are, though, they will be greater than the sum of their parts.

The project is designed to vastly enhance the delivery of health care, increase educational opportunities and stimulate additional economic growth in Trumbull County.

While all this is happening just north of the Eastwood Complex, the mall itself is marking a very auspicious milestone. 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Eastwood Mall.

It is a very different place than when the mall opened in 1969. The ongoing addition of new stores, restaurants, professional offices, three hotels and multiple entertainment venues (What other mall has its own minor league baseball park?) has kept Eastwood relevant to the tastes and needs of the surrounding community.

That’s extremely important at a time when many shopping centers in America are being battered by retailer bankruptcies on the corporate level, resulting in fewer store options.

At Eastwood, just the opposite is occurring. In 2018, visitors discovered new offerings such as a home décor superstore At Home, Cosmo Prof, Rosebud Boutique, Plato’s Closet, iRepair, Coral Rose Boutique, Bobba Tea and Mizu Japanese restaurant.

There was just as much excitement about stores that underwent multi-million dollar renovations or moved to new locations, such as Target, Burlington, JoAnn and Gander Outdoors. In a few months, Big Lots will open in a new, larger space in the Great East Plaza.

The big news going into 2019 is Meijer. The Michigan-based retailer has reached an agreement to establish one of its supercenters in the Howland Commons section of the mall complex, on the site of the former Kmart store.

Contingent upon meeting all governmental requirements, the new Meijer would open an approximately 160,000 square foot supercenter in 2021. The plan also calls for a Meijer gasoline station just across the parking lot, closer to Route 46.

Even more intriguing are plans under consideration that promise to dramatically enhance the retail experience in the enclosed portion of the mall. Discussions are underway with a variety of popular retailers interested in establishing or expanding their operations in the region.

While these plans are far from finalized, they hold the potential to re-create the excitement that energized consumers when they flocked to Niles in 1969 for this new thing called a “shopping mall.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.