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Changes are coming to near-empty malls around Greater Cincinnati

Union Township Trustees have hired a master planner to work with the owners of the Eastgate Mall and the community to determine the best uses. Trustee Michael Logue told WVXU the bar should be set high
Ann Thompson
Union Township trustees have hired a master planner to work with the owners of the Eastgate Mall and the community to determine the best economically viable plan. Trustee Michael Logue told WVXU the bar should be set high.

Once-bustling malls throughout Greater Cincinnati are now near-empty, if not abandoned entirely. But changes are coming. Here's the latest on your former favorite places to shop.

Northgate Mall

Colerain Township trustees, with help from The Port, have purchased the former Sears property at Northgate Mall. The township was the highest bidder at $2.2 million for the 12-acre site. The township is scheduled to close at the end of September.

"After that, we'll have some decisions to make and sort of short-term vs long-term operating of the building," Administrator Jeff Weckbach says. "We're going to continue to work with the owner of the existing mall and we're going to work to kind of make the vision that's been outlined a reality for the community."

That could include a civic space, retail, multi-family and single family homes.

After Sears left in 2018 and Macy's closed in 2020, the township solicited plans for the mall from an architect, Miami University students and through community surveys.

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Weckbach hopes this Sears deal spurs the next phase of the Northgate Mall development or leads to a "reinvigoration in that area."

Eastgate Mall

The Hull Property Group has acquired the middle — or "guts" — of Eastgate Mall and is now one of a dozen owners of the entire property. Kroger bought Sears and is building a Marketplace there.

Union Township trustees in Clermont County have hired a master planner, McGill Smith Punshon, to figure out the most economically viable option for the property while also giving the owners a seat at the table and listening to community ideas.

A meeting is scheduled for the week of Oct. 9 for community business leaders.

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Trustee Michael Logue wants to set the bar high. He envisions an entertainment district. "I could see ice hockey as a strong demand in Cincinnati. If you get enough sheets of ice, you could have tournaments. But you don't just want to be stuck on one aspect. Something that opens up more broad for convention-type space, concert type-space."

Forest Fair Mall

The Journal News reports the demolition of Forest Fair Mall has been delayed because the developer is trying to work out tax incentives with both Fairfield and Forest Park. Parts of the 90-acre site are in both cities.

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The report says, "The Butler County land bank sought and received an extension of the $7.9 million state grant until the end of 2025, to down the eyesore that sits along Interstate 275. Before developer Hillwood Construction Services actually buys the site — currently valued at nearly $10 million on the Butler and Hamilton County auditor's websites — they are seeking tax incentives and rezoning from Fairfield and Forest Park in Hamilton County."

The article also quotes owner Hillwood as saying it would "retain and improve the existing Kohl's department store and plan to build four speculative buildings."


Earlier this year, our news partner WCPO reported Springdale's Artisan Village project has gone through some major design changes because of rising interest rates to finance the redevelopment of the former Tri-County Mall.

The new plan, submitted to the city of Springdale in December, shows the former Macy's and Dillard's department stores will be partially demolished and remodeled to make room for apartments, while a 200-unit apartment tower has been scrapped.

RELATED: The Tri-County Mall is no more

WCPO's Dan Mon reports, "The Dillard's space was originally reserved for a Springdale recreation center that the city decided not to pursue. The Princeton school district also opted out of an opportunity to build a 120,000-square foot STEAM Institute to educate science, technology, engineering, arts and math students."

He adds, "The site plan shows a dog park, hiking and bike trails and two performance venues remain part of the project, while pickleball courts have been added.”

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.