The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 3, 2014

Kmart is kaput, but new store may come to plaza

CONNEAUT —

As promised, the Kmart store in Conneaut’s Gateway Plaza shopping center closed its door this weekend after more than 32 years at the same location.
After weeks of clearance sales, the store served its last customer Saturday, according to reports. On Monday morning,, people could be seen removing shelving and other fixtures. A short time later, workers arrived to remove the big sign that hung above the door.
But while one store has left, action prompted by a catastrophic roof leak, another may be moving in elsewhere in the shopping center, David Kinzie, director of Emster Retail Properties, a California firm that owns the plaza.
“There’s been interest in another variety store,” Kinzie said Monday, declining to identify the retailer.
The new tenant would not occupy the former Kmart store. Inspectors with the city fire department and county building department have determined that floor space cannot be used until roof damage that began at the start of the year and worsened during the winter is corrected.
Instead, the prospective store is studying another vacant space in the plaza, Kinzie said. The only unclaimed spot is the former home of a CVS Pharmacy, next to where a Giant Eagle supermarket did business for several years. The supermarket space is now a warehouse for an area industry, Kinzie has said.
The plaza owner has fielded a few calls from retailers since Kmart announced it would close the store in early April. “It would behoove someone to step in,” Kinzie said.
In April, Kinzie said the real estate company is still haggling with its insurance carrier regarding roof damage the owner claims was caused by horrific winter weather. Kinzie said repairs would cost more than $500,000.
“(The insurance company) is not honoring the claim,” he said Monday. “We have our attorneys working on this. It’s still in progress.”

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