First look at Sandusky Mall homes


Andy Ouriel

Feb 13, 2021 11:00 AM

PERKINS TWP. — A local zoning board recently gave one necessary go-ahead for the Sandusky Mall and its parent company to proceed with a major transformative project.

Before construction can begin in an area near Cinemark Stadium movie theater, however, Perkins Township trustees still need to approve the plan.

A public meeting to review the documents is scheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 23 at Township Hall, 2610 Columbus Ave.

Before this session happens, Melanie Murray, the township’s urban planner, offered up some additional insight so community members can better understand what could happen:

  • “The Sandusky Mall Co. and Sandusky Development Co. submitted an application to rezone properties … in order to accommodate the proposed use of a multi-tenant residential complex with at least 113 units. Without the requested change, the proposed project would not comply with the maximum density requirements.”
  • “Surrounding land uses in the subject area are residential and commercial in nature. Approximately 32 acres in total will be rezoned. About half of that land will be developed with the 113-plus units. The other portion will be developed in the future.”
  • “The proposed heights of the units appear to be 1 to 1.5 stories, which would be compatible with adjacent properties.”
  • “The units will be clustered into different variations of the number of units, sharing walls, and all units will have an attached one- or two-car garage.”
  • “The applicant is interested in starting construction as soon as practical if the requested zoning change is approved by the board of township trustees. Specifically, if approval is granted, the applicant proposes groundbreaking in May of 2021.”
  • “Further details — landscaping and photometric drawings, final layout, utilities and traffic circulation — will be required before the final approval to the project is given.”

This portion represents somewhere between a $12 million to $13 million investment.

More on the mall’s plans

This residential component represents just one piece of Cafaro Co’.s overall mission to make the Sandusky Mall a more viable property. The Cafaro Co. owns the Sandusky Mall, which debuted in the mid-1970s. It remains the region’s only major shopping center within a 30-mile radius.

In 2018, the company began Sandusky Mall’s remodel to attract new tenants while adjusting for evolving shopping habits.

Remodeling the mall in phases can better cater toward a mixed-use property. This means, in addition to retail, it can offer entertainment, offices, restaurants and residential space.

What’s already been accomplished: turning portions of the old Sears into Hobby Lobby.

Meanwhile, work continues on splitting up the former Macy’s location into spaces for three smaller tenants.

“Our people are talking with popular retailers right now to fill spaces,” company spokesman Joe Bell previously told the Register.

He said the discussions were going well, but Cafaro couldn’t release what companies it was in talks with to become tenants.