November 28, 2014

Elyria
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New life for old store

Builders sign up new tenants, plan to expand building

OBERLIN — By October, you may be able to shop at a new discount shoe store or eat at a Chinese restaurant near the Wal-Mart at state Route 58 and U.S. Route 20.
A developer is embarking on a $4 million project to chop off the front of the old Ames store, put on new store fronts and extend the building on the east and west ends.
The result will be more than 51,000 square feet of new shopping space in the Oberlin Square Shopping Center and creative reuse of an empty big box store, developer Lou DeVicchio said.
Signed tenants include a Dollar General store, a discount shoe retailer called Shoe Show, Advance America and China Empire, a chain restaurant, DeVicchio said.
There is a lot of interest in the shopping center following the October 2006 opening of a Wal-Mart store located to the west, he said.
DeVicchio said he has a green light to begin demolition work and site preparation, although there are still some pending issues with the city and state.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has asked for a $9,000 traffic study, which will include traffic counts in the area, DeVicchio said.
One issue that remains is whether the city will allow access from state Route 58, where the combined entrance and exit now is located.
 City planners have been debating whether the entrance and exit should be limited to right-hand turns in and right-hand turns out or whether a traffic light should be installed, he said.
A lot of the traffic into the new strip center will use the road constructed on the west to accommodate the new Wal-Mart, which faces the Ames building. A newly constructed gas station also is on the Wal-Mart site and an existing Pizza Hut and car wash will remain.
DeVicchio originally developed the Ames in 1993, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. The Oberlin store was one of the chain’s most successful sites and was the last area store to close, he said.
A former Ames store on Cleveland Street in Elyria also was modified and now houses a Dollar Tree general store, although there still is empty space in that complex.
The builder for the project in Oberlin is Ratliff Construction of Wooster, which has experience in modifying four other big box stores for reuse.
The goal is to retain a useable portion of the building while modifying it so the store fronts do not have wasted space to the rear, said Alan Ratliff, a spokesman for Ratliff Construction.
The plans call for cutting out a 43-feet deep chunk of the big box store, which stretches 200 feet deep, he said. To the west, the building will be extended by 7,000 square feet, while 3,500 square feet will be added to the east.
The first part of the project could be completed in time for openings in October, DeVicchio said.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.


3 suspected of stealing from Ames building

OBERLIN — Oberlin police arrested three people suspected of stealing copper wiring from the Ames building after Sgt. Patrick Durica noticed a rear door was open shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday.
Charged with breaking and entering are Reginald Mahoney, 40, of Montgomery, Ala., Vactor Linvell, 35, of Elyria, and a 17-year-old Lorain boy, police said.
— from staff reports