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Civic Association gets update on mall and car dealer

November 20, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The topic for the fall dinner meeting of the Boardman Civic Association was "Why Boardman." Answering that question were representatives from Washington Prime Group and Boardman Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

The first speaker for the evening was Boardman Zoning and Development Director Krista Beniston. She spoke on how Boardman Zoning has, and is, changing to encourage business and residential investment within the township.

"We are trying to rework our code so both business and residential property owners can invest in Boardman," she said. "We are trying to set new standards while staying flexible."

Article Photos

Architect’s rendering of the new DeBartolo Commons, being built on the former Sears site at the Southern Park Mall.

Following Beniston was John Kufleitner, owner and dealer principal for Boardman Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge. He said when he considered opening a store in Boardman, he was up against the rules limiting multiple dealerships in neighboring markets. Kefleitner already owned a dealership in Salem and one in Columbiana.

"To open Boardman, we had to sell one of our other dealerships," he said.

The decision was made to sell the Salem one and keep Columbiana which he felt would handle the whole of Columbiana County.

As for the new dealership, Kufleitner said it will sit on 18 developed acres that will include an 18-vehicle showroom. He told those at the dinner he hopes to be opened in December as a lot of the finishing details are being installed now.

The third person to speak at the dinner was Matt Jurkowitz, vice president of Washington Prime Group, owners of the Southern Park Mall. He addressed what is being planned for the south end of the mall where the former Sears store once stood and how the transformation was underway to make Southern Park Mall a hub of retail, dining, and entertainment in the area.

Jurkowitz said the Washington Prime Group looked at what was needed to breathe new life into the mall. The concept was to come up with an outdoor green space that could be used for a variety of venues. Four acres was set aside for DeBartolo Commons which can play host to concerts, sporting events, festivals and gatherings. It was designed to make portable stages easy to move in and out.

"We are also working with Boardman Park and zoning to bring a bike trail connector to the commons," Jurkowitz said. "We will have a bike station for riders to stop at."

DeBartolo Commons is expected to be completed in mid-2020. Jurkowitz said it wouldn't have been possible without a great partnership with Denise DeBartolo-York.

As for new tenants, Jurkowitz announced that Steel Valley Brew Works will be opening across from the commons. It will fill 12,000 square feet on renovated space inside the mall with a front across from the new green space. It will offer a huge selection of local craft beers, specialty coffee, baked goods, and a state-of-the-art coffee roasting facility.

Steel Valley Brew Works will also feature indoor bocce courts, billiards, pinball, foosball, and other leisure games, providing guests an experience that can't be found elsewhere in the area. In addition, Steel Valley Brew Works plans to periodically partner with food truck operators to bring the best local food trucks to its Southern Park Mall location.

In a press release prior to the dinner on Monday, Joshua Langenheim, owner and operator of Steel Valley Brew Works and StoneFruit Coffee Company stated: "I am elated at the chance to bring Steel Valley Brew Works to life. I hear far too often that 'there is no opportunity in the Mahoning Valley.' Contrary, what I've learned is that opportunity isn't handed out, it's created. I believe in Youngstown, and I thank Washington Prime Group and Southern Park Mall for sharing in that belief and helping us bring this opportunity to life. Y-town proud!"

Jurkowitz added there are plans for a skating rink, splash pad, and an indoor golf facility as well as more restaurants.

"We'll be announcing more new companies soon," he said.

As for the Sears demolition, he said it is right on schedule. He added that most of the new venues presented are hoped to be finished in time for the 2020 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Southern Park Mall. That celebration will take place some time in October.

 
 

 

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