November 23, 2014

Elyria
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JCPenney staying put

Employees told store in Elyria mall won’t close — at least until 2009

ELYRIA — It appears likely that JCPenney will stick around Elyria for at least a few more years.
JCPenney employees were informed Tuesday by a district manager that the Elyria site wouldn’t be closing in the immediate future despite plans to open a store in Avon.
“They said the company would fulfill the contract that runs through 2009,” said an employee who wished to remain unnamed. “I was glad to hear it.”
The JCPenney store in Avon — the proposal for which calls for a floor plan of more than 104,000 square feet — is expected to open after the 2008 debut of a Lowe’s store in a
35-acre development created by the Richard E. Jacobs Group along Center and Chester roads. Plans for the complex also call for four restaurants, two smaller retail centers and a bank.
It will be the second time the Jacobs Group has corralled JCPenney into one of its local developments. The first was when it built and opened Midway Mall in 1966.
Jacobs Group eventually sold the mall to the Westfield Group in 2002, which in turn sold it to Australian-based Centro Watt in 2006.
There has been much speculation that the opening of the JCPenney store in Avon would spell the end of the store at the mall, which would be another blow to Centro Watt as it tries to devise a plan to revive the aging mall. Earlier this year, Dillard’s — another of the mall’s original anchor stores — announced it would close sometime this summer.
Whether the mall will include a JCPenney store after 2009, however, isn’t known. Officials from JCPenney and Centro Watt did not return calls seeking comment.
 On July 18, the Avon Planning Commission will hear the first presentation of site plans by a representative of the Jacobs Group. The commission must give its OK to improvements to support the development, including utilities, road curbing and paving, striping, lighting and landscaping.
Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.