The Evolution of Tri-County Mall: What’s Next for Springdale, OH?

The Glory Days of Tri-County Mall

Tri-County Mall opened its doors in 1960, becoming a cornerstone of Springdale‘s community life. Its stores, eateries, and entertainment options quickly became a hub for social gatherings and family outings. The mall was more than just a shopping center; it was a place where memories were made, from first dates at the food court to holiday shopping sprees.

During its heyday, the mall was home to popular anchor stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s, which drew crowds from all over the region. These stores were complemented by various specialty shops, making the mall a one-stop destination for all shopping needs. Seasonal events and promotions added to the mall’s allure, making it a bustling center, especially during the holidays.

The mall wasn’t just a commercial space; it was deeply integrated into the fabric of Springdale, Ohio. It provided jobs for residents and became a venue for community events, from charity fundraisers to local school performances. Friendships were forged in the mall, and families spent quality time together.

However, like many good things, the glory days of the Tri-County Mall couldn’t last forever. As the years passed, the retail landscape began to change. The rise of e-commerce and the decline of traditional retail started to take its toll, setting the stage for the mall’s eventual downfall.

The Downfall and Closure

Once the lifeblood of the mall, JCPenney, Dillard’s, Sears, and Macy’s shut their doors, leaving gaping holes in the retail space. This led to a domino effect, with smaller stores closing due to reduced foot traffic. The mall resembled a ghost town, a far cry from its bustling past.

Several attempts were made to revitalize the mall, but none were successful in the long term. The emergence of online shopping platforms and their convenience made it difficult for traditional retail spaces to compete. The mall’s decline was not an isolated incident but a more significant trend affecting malls across America.

By the time the mall closed, it had become a symbol of a bygone era. The once-vibrant corridors were empty, and laughter and chatter replaced eerie silence. The closure had a ripple effect on the community, affecting local businesses and reducing job opportunities for residents.

The mall’s closure in May 2022 marked the end of an era but also opened the door to new possibilities. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. In the case of the Tri-County Mall, that new door was the Artisan Village project, a bold initiative aimed at breathing new life into the space.

The Birth of the Artisan Village Project

In March 2022, Park Harbor Capital and MarketSpace Capital took a significant step by purchasing the 76-acre property of the Tri-County Mall. Their vision was ambitious: to transform the aging retail space into a vibrant apartment community known as Artisan Village. The project aimed to redefine the concept of community living, offering a blend of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces.

However, the journey was not without its challenges. Financing the redevelopment became a significant hurdle, especially with a 3.5-point rate hike over about eight months. This financial strain complicated the construction financing task but did not deter the developers from pursuing their vision.

The initial plans for Artisan Village were grand, featuring a variety of amenities designed to attract a diverse resident population. The project promised something for everyone, from hiking and bike trails to performance venues. Yet, these plans had to be revised due to financial constraints and changing market conditions.

Despite the challenges, the project continued to move forward, buoyed by the developers’ commitment and the community’s anticipation. The Artisan Village project was about constructing buildings and creating a space where people could live, work, and play harmoniously.

Major Design Changes and Financial Constraints

In December 2022, a revised site plan was submitted to Springdale, Ohio, reflecting several significant changes. The former Macy’s and Dillard’s department stores would now be partially demolished and remodeled to make room for apartments. This move was a strategic decision aimed at optimizing the use of available space while adhering to budget constraints.

These design changes would save almost $50 million. The revisions were not just about cutting costs but also about adapting to market realities. The developers had to be agile, making changes that made sense from both a financial and a community standpoint.

The new plans also showed a shift in focus. While the initial plans featured a 200-unit apartment tower, this idea was scrapped in favor of a more community-centric approach. The developers aimed to create a space that resonated with the needs and aspirations of the residents rather than just another high-rise building.

Despite the changes, the core vision of the project remained intact. The developers were still committed to creating a vibrant community space to serve as Springdale’s new focal point. The revised plans were not a step back but a strategic move to ensure the project’s long-term success.

Community Features and Amenities

One of the most exciting aspects of the Artisan Village project is its focus on community amenities. The site plan includes a dog park, hiking and bike trails, and two performance venues. These features aim to create a holistic living experience, offering residents more than a place to stay.

In addition to these amenities, new renderings submitted with the site plan included pickleball courts. This addition reflects the developers’ intent to cater to a wide range of interests, ensuring that Artisan Village will be a place where everyone feels at home.

The project also places a strong emphasis on aesthetics and community integration. New townhomes will be built to hide the site’s parking garages from pedestrian views, enhancing the overall visual appeal of the area. The developers are keen on creating a space that looks good and fosters community interaction.

The project goal is not to build bricks and sticks but to create a community. This sentiment captures the essence of the Artisan Village project, which aims to be more than just a real estate development; it aspires to be a cornerstone of community life in Springdale.

The Future and What It Holds

The Artisan Village project is being executed in phases, allowing flexibility and adaptability. While some components have been shifted to later stages, this strategic move enables the developers to generate revenue from the initial steps, justifying the debt secured for the project.

One notable change in plans was the decision by the Princeton school district not to pursue a 120,000-square-foot STEAM Institute. This educational facility was initially part of the project but was later dropped, allowing the developers to focus on other community amenities.

Public opinion about the project has been generally positive, with residents expressing excitement and anticipation. While some are nostalgic about the old Tri-County Mall, many look forward to the future. The Artisan Village project represents a new chapter in Springdale’s history, promising to revitalize the community and bring new opportunities.

The project is still in its developmental stages, but the progress made so far is promising. With its blend of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, Artisan Village is poised to become a new landmark in Springdale, offering a modern, community-centric living experience.

Conclusion

The story of the Tri-County Mall is a tale of evolution and transformation. From its glory days as a bustling shopping center to its decline and eventual closure, the mall has been a significant part of Springdale’s history. But as the Artisan Village project takes shape, it promises to breathe new life into this iconic site.

Despite its challenges and changes, the project remains a beacon of hope for the community. It aims to offer a modern, integrated living experience, redefining the concept of community living. With its blend of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, Artisan Village is more than just a real estate development; it’s a vision for a brighter, more vibrant future.

As Springdale looks ahead, the Artisan Village project represents a new beginning. It’s a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the community, proving that even in the face of change and uncertainty, there’s always room for growth, renewal, and, most importantly, community.

The transformation of the Tri-County Mall into Artisan Village is not just a local development; it’s a symbol of how communities can adapt, evolve, and thrive in changing times. And as the project moves from plans to reality, one thing is clear: the best is yet to come.

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