July 25, 2016

Partly sunny

In need of a vision

BRUNSWICK — The city is looking for a company to help take the Town Center development on state Route 303 in a new direction.

City Manager Bob Zienkowski said the development, which was started in 2002, was supposed to occur in two phases. The first phase included the residential development South Lake and the retail development that includes Giant Eagle, Home Depot and a variety of other retail spaces. The second phase has yet to be started.

“I think it fell short of the expectations,” Zienkowski said. He said residents of South Lake and retailers “bought into the idea of the first phase and there would be a natural draw in phase two. (They thought) it would tie itself off together, but that just didn’t come to fruition.”

The first phase started after the city contracted with Cleveland-based Zaremba Group. Zienkowski said Zaremba had rights to build the second phase, which would be on approximately 19 city-owned acres behind the development. However, the company and the city agreed in 2008 that it would not take on the rest of the project.

Now, the city is looking for a company that will. It sent out requests for qualifications from developers and real estate firms that would potentially develop the remainder of the project. In the request, the city is asking for the companies’ vision for the project, their qualifications and past experience. They are due to the city by Nov. 24.

Zienkowski said the last component will create “a nice flow” between the retail, the residential area and nearby Brunswick Lake.

He said the city is looking for “the right mix” of services for the area.
“I think the last component will try to make that mix. It’s missing now,” he said.

Zienkowski said it ultimately will boost business for the retailers already operating in Town Center and could even help fill the couple of remaining vacant spaces.

At-large Councilman Pat McNamara said the city wants to bring to the area “some kind of quality-of-life facility, something that would enhance that whole area. Not just retail.”

He said it would be in addition to the retail and residential developments already there.

“We’re trying to combine that with the neighborhood feel that they have already, but something that would be an economic driver. Really, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

McNamara said he hopes the city will narrow down the interested companies to a few and then form a citizens group to help pick out the final developer. Zienkowski said he hopes to have a contract with a developer by the end of this winter so the second phase can start in the spring.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.