Nearby: Connection the Key to Redeveloping Northway Mall

Architect Noel Cupkovic speaks repeatedly of the importance of "connectivity."

It will be months before final plans are presented for the redevelopment of the Shoppes at Northway, more often referred to as the Northway Mall.

The project's architect, however, has given the Ross Township Planning Commission a glimpse of his vision. 

In a word, it's all about "connectivity."

Cleveland-based architect Noel L. Cupkovic  told the planning commission that connecting the western side of the mall, which is 23 feet above McKnight Road, with the eastern or lower side is key to the success of the project.

One possibility is a parking garage, on the western side, behind the retail shops, to draw people into the mall complex.

"The concept is to bring the traffic into the mall whether it's open-air or enclosed, to create this connectivity," said Cupkovic. "This connectivity is critical to the success of the mall redevelopment."

Gary O'Nesti, special projects director for mall owner Levey & Co., which purchased the mall and the former Northway Elementary School in December , echoed those sentiments.

"Connectivity is what has been lacking in this mall," he said. "This is a unique project. You're never going to get rid of the ridge. So you've got the strip center in the front and a mall in the back. So what we have to do, and what we believe is the best approach, is to make that connectivity happen." 

O'Nesti said the search for tenants is an ongoing process.

"Our vision is to do a first-class regional, retail center that will probably be a hybrid center," he said. "It'll have some mixed uses. We've talked to some office, we've talked to some medical, we've talked to some retail, there's very much a demand and a need for restaurants here, we've seen that and we've had some of those discussions with restaurants."

The next step is to win rezoning of the former Northway Elementary School from residential to commercial, something the planning commission endorsed. The issue goes before the Ross Township Board of Commissioners on Feb 4.

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