Saturday, April 22, 2000

Talk of Mason-area mall stirs foes

Nordstrom said to be eyeing Warren Co. site

BY Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — Talk of a Nordstrom department store that could anchor a new mall in southern Warren County has roused anti-sprawl activists.

        Cincinnati city officials trying to lure a Nordstrom downtown have said the chain is also considering a store in the fast-growing Mason area. One possible site mentioned publicly would be north of Paramount's Kings Island, in Deerfield Township.

        Glen Brand, director of the Cincinnati office of the Sierra Club, complained that the only officials who should be working to attract new retailers are those representing urban areas such as Cincinnati or Middletown, or troubled existing malls such as Forest Fair.

        Mr. Brand said he and dozens of other anti-development activists in Southwest Ohio would actively oppose a new mall around here.

        “We'd fight it unless it was going to be in downtown Middletown,” he said. “Otherwise, it makes no sense. This should be the last thing we are doing in sprawl-saturated Southwest Ohio.”

        Dan Theno, Deerfield Township's administrator of development and community relations, said no one has approached the township about any mall development projects.

        Mr. Brand, and other development opponents from north Dayton to Northern Kentucky, have been busy in recent months opposing both a proposed new Interstate 75 interchange in Monroe, at the Butler and Warren County line, and a new “regional shopping center” tentatively proposed for the area.

        Diana Davis of Oxford was shopping Thursday at the Tri-County Mall in northern Hamilton County.

        Ms. Davis said she doesn't support building another mall in Greater Cincinnati because it would divert shoppers from already declining malls such as Forest Fair, which is also off the northern loop of Interstate 275.

        “The last thing Cincinnati needs is another mall,” she said, though she did add her support to adding a Nordstrom to Cincinnati's central business district to help the city's economy.

        Warren County planning director Bob Craig shared her concern about the risk of building too many shopping malls in the Tristate.

        “I don't want to see the market overbuilt. Forest Fair seems to be hanging by a thread as it is,” said Mr. Craig.

        Enquirer reporters Kevin Aldridge and Cindi Andrews contributed to this story.


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