Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Public views mall redo plan

Crestview Hills eyes pros, cons

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CRESTVIEW HILLS - Growing up near Crestview Hills Mall, Edgewood resident Mandy Zumbiel used to do all of her Christmas shopping there.

What: Meeting of the Kenton County Planning Commission to consider a preliminary development plan and changes in parking and sign requirements for a redeveloped Crestview Hills Mall. This public hearing will be the only formal venue where people can speak out on these issues.

When: 6:15 p.m., Feb. 5

Where: Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission meeting room, 2332 Royal Drive, Fort Mitchell

In recent years, however, the 26-year-old nail technician at Dillard's Salon here has done much of her shopping elsewhere as store after store left one of Northern Kentucky's oldest retail centers.

"Who wants to stop in here for one store when they can go to Rookwood (Commons) and do all of their shopping?" Zumbiel said. On Tuesday, she joined more than 100 people at Crestview Hills Mall to view a developer's plans for rebuilding the nearly vacant center as an outdoor "lifestyle center."

Neighbors want to know how a redeveloped Crestview Hills Mall would affect parking, property values and traffic. But after years of watching tenant after tenant leave, they also sought assurances that developer Jeff Anderson will lure the right mix of stores.

Anderson, best known for building and expanding the trendy Rookwood Commons in Norwood, has proposed a complete makeover for the 23-year-old Crestview Hills Mall.

Reconstruction could start by June 1.

The existing mall would be replaced by seven main buildings, featuring dozens of fashion-based stores targeting 25- to 55-year-old women.

The Bluegrass Commons Lifestyle Center would include a $25 million, 200,000-square-foot Dillard's department store. The existing Dillard's would stay open while the new store is built.

Anderson's son, J.R. Anderson, a principal with J.R. Anderson Real Estate in Cincinnati, said he expects to announce the other tenants in 60 to 90 days.

Possible tenants include a furniture or sporting goods store; a health-food store, and various fashion retailers.

Trendy restaurants are also being sought, including a Mexican restaurant based in Dallas, an Irish pub and a full-service restaurant serving American fare.

Through sidewalks, trees, lighting, awnings and some angled parking in front of the stores, developers hope to give the project a "Main-Street feel."

"With more upscale stores, it'll attract shoppers from Fort Thomas, Fort Mitchell and Edgewood," Zumbiel said. "Everybody who comes into the salon can't wait for (the reconstruction) to start. I know I would shop there."


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