Walmart May Be Anchor Store at Oakwood

What do you think about the possibility of a Walmart at Oakwood Commons?

A Walmart may be on its way to Oakwood.

The former Oakwood Country Club site, which sits in both Cleveland Heights and South Euclid, could be "anchored by a 180,000-square-foot-Walmart," according to a promotional brochure created by Goodman Real Estate Services Group.

Cleveland Heights resident Fran Mentch, who fought the development of Oakwood, said the brochure was posted on the Cleveland company's website but later removed.

First Interstate Properties, the Lyndhurst-based commercial development company behind Steelyard Commons and Legacy Village, owns the land and plans to create a mix of parkland, retail and residential properties and call it "Oakwood Commons." According to an article in The Plain Dealer, First Interstate president Mitchell Schneider said an agreement with Walmart is not yet finalized.

Mentch is president of the Severance Neighborhood Organization, the nonprofit that created the group Citizens for Oakwood and tried to stop First Interstate from building on the land. South Euclid residents voted in November to sustain South Euclid City Council's unanimous vote to rezone the land to make development possible.

Mentch is concerned that the Walmart at Severance Town Center will close if one opens less than a mile down the road.

The Plain Dealer reported that a Walmart could bring 85 new jobs, not including those that would potentially move from a nearby store.

What do you think about the possibility of a Walmart in Oakwood Commons? Tell us in the comments section below.

Paula M. February 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Great, another WalMart, just what we need. But wait, there will be one fewer when the one at Severance closes. A big, empty box. Tax dollars moved from Cleveland Heights to another community. Progress, right?
Garry Kanter February 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Actually, the city council voted 7 - 0 to rezone. The citizens, unfortunately, voted in favor of letting that myopic and community killing decision stand. The developer spent about a $ half million for his 'victory'. With the recent request to divide the SE parcel into two lots, it's become pretty evident that First Interstate was merely a Trojan Horse for Walmart. To no one's surprise. Here's a link to my blog/plea on The Patch, where I ask help in overturning this unconstitutional rezoning: http://clevelandheights.patch.com/blog_posts/ill-gladly-pay-you-tuesday We can do this, however, time is of the essence!
Eric Mack February 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Would the (possibly) relocated WalMart still be in the CHUH school district? Are both SE and CH portions of the new development in the CHUH school district?
Garry Kanter February 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Eric, The Patch requires full names. Yes, the SE portion of Oakwood is in the CH-UH district, as is the SE Cedar Center development.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) February 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM
You beat me to it, Garry! Thanks for reading, Eric. Yes, Oakwood is in the CH-UH School District. And as he mentioned, please include your last name. Paula, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, too. Please add your last name, as it is one of our terms of use: www.clevelandheights.patch.com/terms.
Lisa Rainsong February 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Destruction of Oakwood for a Super Walmart that will result in Walmart at Severance being closed? Those of us who have been saying this for many months were not wrong. And what will Target's fate be? It's simply cannibalizing the larger community - there's not enough money here to support all this retail. It's absolutely infuriating to see such fighting over crumbs instead of some kind of forward-thinking planning that will benefit the region. This is absolutely shameful and disgraceful!
Dave Polak February 22, 2012 at 01:14 PM
This is horrible news. I shopped at a Wallmart once. It was one of the most soul crushing experiences of my life. I will never set foot in one again. I also shop local whenever possible.
Ralph Solonitz February 22, 2012 at 02:35 PM
sad, sad, sad! The trees are already cut down. We bring this crap on ourselves...I wouldn't care except it effects me. sorry to be so selfish. I like fresh air and neighborhoods where local businesses thrive. This is my planet.I would find another if it weren't so far away. I am preaching to the choir, Those that need to hear this are at Walmart right now. Ralph Solonitz
Richard Hollis February 22, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I find it incomprehensible that the people who voted FOR Oakwood rezoning did not seem to have a clue what was going to happen. Citizens For Oakwood told them repeatedly, but it seems no one listened. How tragic.
Duane Forte February 22, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I find this shameful,stripping our area of its natural beauty/charm for a few dollars..the residents, mom&pop stores makes the community not larger box stores. Duane Forte Cleve.Hts.
Bill McNamara February 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Not exactly going to be like Legacy Village , is it? Next we'll see TIF (Tax Increment Financing) like the school board approved for Key Bank/Cedar Center so that the homeowners can subsidize yet more discount retail development we don't need.
Garry Kanter February 23, 2012 at 09:15 AM
There's a new branch of science: South Euclidean Geometry. Here's an example of how it works. Watch closely: The developer's literature and ads, which can be seen everywhere, all says, "CREATES 700 JOBS". Q. How many new jobs will there be? A. There will be only 85 jobs.
Garry Kanter February 23, 2012 at 09:16 AM
South Euclidean Geometry 101, Lecture #2: Q. What is the value of the loss of 144 acres of green space and replacing it with "Walmarts Village featuring Goodman Pahhk @ Oakwood", destroying the quality of life and property values of countless East Siders? A. This is a trick question. According to South Euclidean Geometry, this "COSTS US NOTHING".
Garry Kanter February 23, 2012 at 09:17 AM
When did First Interstate have a pretty reasonable idea that "CREATES 700 JOBS" was unlikely to be the case? In other words, when did Walmart become the leading, or only, store likely to occupy that space? Because deals to buy a property, sub-divide it to exact specifications, sell it to the anchor tenant (Walmart), and create promotional material featuring that anchor tenant (Walmart)don't happen over night. Yet, his response is unchanged from day one: "Mitchell Schneider, president of First Interstate Properties Ltd., which owns and is developing the property, said via email that the deal with Walmart is still not finalized. ""What I can confirm to you is that we are in fact still in negotiation with Walmart (and others) and if and when we have a final, formal agreement, I will definitely provide you with an announcement."" But somehow, "Environmentalist" and city councilperson Jane Goodman saw fit to use the developer's own lawyers (at no cost, perhaps?) to file a complaint against Citizens For Oakwood, the grass roots green organization that led the opposition to this horror, for distributing misleading information. She lost the complaint, of course, 4 - 0.
Garry Kanter February 23, 2012 at 09:28 AM
Even in South Euclidean Geometry, only one of these statements can be true. Select one: 1. "Walmart spokesman Daniel Morales confirmed that a Supercenter is in the works. ""Our customers have told us that they want more convenient access to affordable groceries, and we think a new store at Oakwood Commons can be a part of the solution for local families," he said. "We hope to have more details to share soon." -or- 2. "Mitchell Schneider, president of First Interstate Properties Ltd., which owns and is developing the property, said via email that the deal with Walmart is still not finalized. ""What I can confirm to you is that we are in fact still in negotiation with Walmart (and others) and if and when we have a final, formal agreement, I will definitely provide you with an announcement." A. Another trick question! BOTH can be true, because we're being misinformed via semantics, rather than informed via facts.
Ted Dick February 23, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I h8 Walmart
Sandra Zabukovec February 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Last I heard, this was a democracy. Just because the citizens voted for the rezoning does not mean we are uneducated boneheads who believe everything we hear. I knew exactly what I was doing when I went to the polls. Allow me my vote without your insults. Sandy Zabukovec
Garry Kanter February 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Man, I would be mad if someone said those things about me, too! But I don't see those mean-spirited words in any of the comments posted here. Who's all that indignation directed to?
Garry Kanter February 24, 2012 at 05:11 AM
McKenna Associates Inc. prepared the “cover” document for the SE City Council’s ill advised, and perhaps illegal, rezoning. Can you spot the problem? The greatest minds at McKenna Associates Inc and the South Euclid City Council couldn’t. Neither could the SE Zoning Administrator, despite receiving 169 of them. “Public Support for Rezoning. In response to project information mailed by the developer to all South Euclid residents and Cleveland Heights residents adjacent to the project site (more than 13,000 mailers distributed), respondents have shown significant support for the proposed rezoning and subsequent commercial development of the Oakwood site. To date, 169 or 90% of respondents approve the proposed rezoning, while 19 or 10% of respondents disapprove of rezoning. Public support for a proposed rezoning is important whenever proposed changes to land use and the Comprehensive Plan are being contemplated.” https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=aGVpZ2h0c3Nuby5vcmd8d3d3fGd4OjUwZjhmOWU2ODM0ODM1OTE&pli=1 Here’s a hint: There isn’t any box to indicate “NO!”
Garry Kanter February 24, 2012 at 06:40 AM
Vinny Gambini: Let me show you something. [he holds up a playing card, with the face toward Billy] Vinny Gambini: He's going to show you the bricks. He'll show you they got straight sides. He'll show you how they got the right shape. He'll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have. But there's one thing he's not gonna show you. [turns the card, so that its edge is toward Billy] Vinny Gambini: When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they're as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick. It has to be an illusion, 'cause you're innocent. Nobody - I mean nobody - pulls the wool over the eyes of a Gambini, especially this one. Give me a chance, one chance. Let me question the first witness. If after that point, you don't think that I'm the best man for the job, fire me then and there. I'll leave quietly, no grudges. All I ask is for that one chance. I think you should give it to me.
Garry Kanter February 24, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Nice bunch, Part I: “Speaking about his election victory and his critics, [South Euclid City Council President David F.] Miller said, “We have an educated group of residents who are not influenced by innuendo, nay-sayers, and half-empties. They see what myself and the mayor are doing and they believe in it. Their agenda was not acceptable to the majority of voters. “They have to learn that if they don’t get in line, they’re going to get run over.” Speaking about the Oakwood Commons critics, many of whom live in Cleveland Heights, Miller said, “Thank you and goodbye. Crawl back under the rock you came from.” http://blog.cleveland.com/sunmessenger/2011/11/marty_gelfand_edges_incumbent.html
Garry Kanter February 24, 2012 at 07:52 AM
Nice bunch - Part II: "Anything"?, "Environmentalist" and SE City Council person Jane Goodman? Really?? First Interstate - the property owner who needed a rezoning to build his Walmart - was gonna build a church? June 22, 2011 Ward 4 Councilwoman Jane Goodman, who grew up close to the country club and in whose ward it is located, favors the development, but said she will continue to seek more from Schneider, such as even more pervious parking lot square footage. Speaking of the development, she said after the work session, “This is the only way we’re going to get 21 acres of greenspace. We don’t own the property. If we don’t rezone it for this, anything can go on that property — churches, office buildings, schools — and they all need parking.” http://blog.cleveland.com/sunmessenger/2011/06/oakwood_developer_tells_south.html
Fran Mentch February 25, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Sandra, You wrote: "Allow me my vote without your insults." Just a friendly reminder that you were able to vote only because a citizens group fought for it in the Ohio Supreme Court, twice. Your city council and the developer tried to stop this from going to the ballot. The developer stated publicly that " the referendum was moot". That is what the developer and your city government thinks of your right to vote. If it were not for Citizens for Oakwood and their supporters, you would never have had the right to vote. I am very glad that Oakwood made it to the ballot. It is too bad that all the citizens in the affected area could not have voted on it, but what is done is done. City governments in the area did not work to protect their constituents' interest and South Euclid city officials duped their residents into voting against their own best interest. The people have spoken. So be it.
Garry Kanter February 25, 2012 at 06:07 PM
CFO, aided by the Kramer Legal Clinic at Case, had to prevail FOUR times for Sandra to exercise her right to vote: The signatures had to be collected and approved, the developer challenged their standing twice, and then, "Environmentalist" and SE city councilperson Jane Goodman filed that implausible complaint with the OEC, using the developer's own lawyers!!! CFO was 4 - 0 going into the referendum. They got outspent $450,000 to almost nothing. Thank you, everyone at CFO, for giving our community a chance to know the truth, and for providing the good citizens of SE a chance to right this horrible wrong at the ballot box. Your selfless efforts should be celebrated, long and loudly!!! And yet, I maintain this doesn't have to be "Game Over", yet.
Garry Kanter February 25, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Here's the PD's ringing endorsement, one week before election day: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/10/oakwood_project_deserves_suppo.html
Garry Kanter February 26, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Al Norman, of Sprawl-Busters renown, has posted a new article about this "Walmart Village featuring Goodman Pahhk @ Oakwood" fiasco. http://www.sprawl-busters.com/search.php?readstory=3940
Laura Luxenberg February 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
It is so sad to me that this short-sighted development is going ahead. I contributed to the fight against it. I think that many of the people who believed the developer's "yay hooray, this will be great for you!" PR spin will regret it as well once the reality of the concrete and asphalt is poured.......all too late. Laura Luxenberg


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