Huge Meadowbrook Mall Demolition Effort Underway to Set Way for New Anchor

Huge Meadowbrook Mall Demolition Effort Under Way Costing $600,000-Plus to Set Way for New Anchor by Jeff Toquinto on November 15, 2022

The process for getting Meadowbrook Mall ready for its “biggest merchant ever” is now taking a physical form.

For anyone who has been on the backside of the mall, or the portion facing Interstate 79, they may have noticed construction fencng up, construction equipment, and a giant hole in the structure that was the former home of Elder-Beerman.

According to Bridgeport Community Development Director Andrea Kerr, two permits were recently filed with the city to do the demolition. One, prior to the actual demolition was for asbestos abatement, and the second is for the actual demolition, which is taking place now. The permits were filed by Cafaro, the owner of the mall.

Kerr said Environmental Protection, which is the name of the company, is responsible for the asbestos abatement for $163,900. The demolition work is being handled by JJO Construction out of Mentor, Ohio. The work includes 11 units within the mall at a cost of $453,007.

"The most noticeable work is at the old Elder-Beerman building," said Kerr. "That will be home to Marshall's."

However, that does not mean Marshall’s is expanding into the entire store. Kerr said she believes the square footage Marshall’s will take over is roughly the same.

As for the 11 units, Kerr said they are scattered from one end to the other. Most of the units beyond the Elder-Beerman area involve the Sears building and properties around such as the soon-to-be-leaving JoANN Fabric.

“I’ve had a meeting with Cafaro recently and they provided us their plans for demolition and the new layout of what the footprint mall will look like going forward,” said Kerr. “While there were some changes and some stores have closed, other stores have decided to keep open and relocate to different portions of the mall and that speaks volumes for the future of the mall.”

Kerr said a permit for construction has not been filed for what is rumored to be Boscov’s but has not been confirmed by Cafaro. Cafaro said a formal announcement will likely come in early 2023.

“The new tenant we’re projecting will not only be a multi-million-dollar construction project, but it will be producing a strong stream of revenue in the form of dollars through B&O taxes,” said Kerr. “I can assure you that this project is definitely happening, and we’re hoping to see plans soon.”

Kerr said she said the business, which she did not disclose due to no official permit being filed for the business, could be open in the later portions of 2023.

Editor's Note: Photos show demolition taking place in the former Elder-Beerman building Monday.

“Largest Merchant Ever” Scheduled to Open in Bridgeport in 2023

Meadowbrook Mall States its “Largest Merchant Ever” Scheduled to Open Doors in Bridgeport in 2023

By Jeff Toquinto on October 26, 2022

Meadowbrook Mall is about to have a major addition. In fact, today, officials with Cafaro, the mall’s parent company confirmed as much in a press release sent out.

What the press release did not say was what the addition was. What it did say was it will be “the largest merchant to ever open at Meadowbrook Mall.”

Joe Bell, the director of corporate communications for Cafaro, could not comment on what would come, which is generally not unusual until leases are formally signed or the business in question wants an announcement to be made. The press release said a lease has not yet been formally signed.

Cafaro stated in their press release that the process for establishing a new lease agreement with any large business often takes months or years. They added that with this business the process is nearly complete.

However, it appears likely the business in question is Boscov’s. Several mall merchants have confirmed to Connect-Bridgeport, as well as on social media, they have been told issues involving their move or lease situation have been based on Boscov’s arrival. Again, Bell would not confirm if that is the case.

Boscov’s Inc. is a family-owned department store with roughly 50 locations in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Twenty-six of these stores are located in Pennsylvania. This would be the first store in West Virginia if that is who Cafaro is working with.

What Bell could confirm, as well as the press release, is that the business is tentatively scheduled to be in place in Bridgeport in 2023. To make way for it, multiple stores have moved and one of the mall’s most popular stores will move.

Marshalls will be moving into what is being described as a “modern, updated store space in the “Target Concourse,” according to the press release.

Anthony Cafaro, Jr., Co-President of the mall’s parent company commented about the arrival.

“This will be the biggest offering for consumers to ever arrive at Meadowbrook Mall,” he said.

The relocation of Marshalls is not the first. Several others, such as Four Horsemen Comics and Gaming, have already moved. JOANN Fabrics recently announced their closure. However, their lease was not terminated, according to Bell.

“We had a new space for them and were going to relocate them, but it was their decision to leave. The company made the decision to leave the marketplace,” said Bell. “It’s unfortunate that they decided to leave, but it was a corporate decision.”

Boscov’s has many of its stores with a two-story format. Bell would not say whether the entity in question would be one or two stories. He did confirm they would use existing space on the Cinemark end of the mall.

“They will be doing some demolition, but it will likely just be exterior demolition,” said Bell of the officially unnamed business. “We’re looking forward to making the announcement as to who it is soon. There is a lot of buzz.”



Electric battery maker SPARKZ to locate factory in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The energy startup SPARKZ said Tuesday it will locate an electric battery factory in northern West Virginia.

The batteries will be built at a 482,000-square-foot (4.5-hectare) plant in Taylor County off U.S. Route 50 near Bridgeport, the company said in a statement. The plant, which eventually will employ 350 workers, originally was a glass factory that ceased operations in 2009.

The plant will produce cobalt-free batteries, an effort to bring down the cost of U.S. lithium-ion battery production. The Democratic Republic of Congo has historically been the top producer of cobalt worldwide, with most mines controlled by Chinese companies.

In March the Livermore, California-based company announced intentions to build the plant. An agreement with the United Mine Workers union was announced in May to recruit and train dislocated miners to be the factory’s first production workers. West Virginia has lost thousands of jobs in mining and other resource extraction industries in recent years.

The company, which was founded in 2019, has said its first markets will likely be in material-handling vehicles such as forklifts, agricultural equipment and energy storage. It added that batteries for the automotive market, which require a process of certification, will be in the near future of the plant.

A recruitment drive has started for the first group of employees, who then will prepare for additional worker training and manufacturing as production begins, the statement said.

“SPARKZ is excited to bring its patriotic power company to West Virginia and begin hiring coalfield families starting today. This is the perfect location to begin re-engineering the battery supply chain to end China’s dominance in energy storage,” founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra said in the statement.

Earlier this year, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced $3.1 billion in funding to U.S. companies that make and recycle lithium-ion batteries.

“Engaging our strong and capable workforce here in West Virginia to manufacture batteries domestically is a critical to our energy independence and stability,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said. “The Sparkz facility will create 350 good-paying, long-term jobs, and I look forward to seeing this initiative grow. We will continue to work closely together to bring battery manufacturing here to the United States so we don’t have to rely on foreign supply chains for our energy needs.”