Updated at 3:48 p.m. Thursday
It's official — Walmart Supercenter has signed on with Oakwood Commons.
Mitchell Schneider, president of First Interstate Properties, which is developing the former country club, announced today that he has signed an agreement with Walmart.
But as one store opens, another will close.
Walmart confirmed in a press release that the Oakwood store would "replace the existing discount store at ." The new store will be 177,000 square feet and employ more than 300 people.
"The store will give associates (at Severance) the opportunity to relocate with the store (at Oakwood). We will also add an additional 85 jobs," said Daniel Morales, director of communications and community relations at Walmart.
Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley said he looks at it as a positive opportunity.
"They're not going to have two stores within a mile of each other. Let’s put the cards on the table. Walmart will close at Severance. There’s no doubt in my mind," Kelley said, adding he does not shop there and doesn't plan to. "I look at it as a positive opportunity for the city and the owners of the mall to get somebody new, fresh and exciting into the space.
"They’ve been a great anchor for many years. This will be a challenge ... but we’re ready to roll up our sleeves with the owners of the mall to get something fresh and exciting for Cleveland Heights."
About a month ago, a promotional brochure created by the Goodman Real Estate Services group stated that Oakwood would be "anchored by a 180,000-square-foot-Walmart."
Cleveland Heights resident Fran Mentch, who , said the brochure was posted on the Cleveland company's website but later removed. Schneider said the agreement was not final at that time.
Now the plans are to open the store in the summer of 2013.
"We are very pleased that Walmart has chosen to be part of this project,” Schneider said in a press release. “They bring new retail choices including a full services supermarket and exceptional prices to the local community. They are an excellent fit for this project and offer an excellent and necessary alternative for the residents of Cleveland’s east side inner suburban communities. If all goes according to plan, local residents will be shopping at their new Supercenter in the summer of 2013. This is a big step toward bringing the promised jobs and capital investment to South Euclid that we promised – with approximately 300 full time equivalent positions and a committed project cost to date of more than $25 million.”
First Interstate Properties of Lyndhurst bought the Oakwood land in both Cleveland Heights and South Euclid, and is known for developing Legacy Village, Willoughby Commons, Steelyard Commons and Avon Commons.
The land was zoned for residential development. its side of the land in June, but residents . After a back-and-forth battle between , which wanted the property converted into a park, and First Interstate, the that South Euclid residents should vote on whether the land is rezoned.
South Euclid residents approved rezoning in November, which allowed First Interstate to move forward with plans for a 41-acre retail development and use 21 acres for greenspace.
First Interstate , which has 90 acres, Oct. 18.
Plans have not been confirmed for Cleveland Heights, but according to the press release, "... Schneider said the preliminary concept calls for a campus setting with a variety of living options for active seniors, along with therapy and wellness facilities, retail, restaurants and civic use. The proposal also calls for several green spaces to remain undeveloped in Cleveland Heights ..."
Kelley said the city has not seen any plans yet.
Representatives from Pine Tree Commercial Realty, LLC, the company that manages Severance Town Center, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cleveland Heights Patch will continue to update this story as more information is available. Do you support a Walmart Supercenter at Oakwood Commons? Share your thoughts in the comments below and take our poll.