Although the owner of Bearden’s Restaurant has told the city that he may reopen the local landmark, the property is for sale and is being considered for development along with surrounding Lake Road parcels.
During his quarterly presentation to City Council last week, Economic and Community Development Director Kory Koran reported that three developers have been looking at the 8 to 10 acres that include the restaurant, a former American Legion building and the Beachcliff Row townhouses, which he said are in tax delinquency.
Koran said that Bearden’s owner Joe Orange has had knee surgery, one of the reasons, along with the loss of business due to the Lake Road construction project, that Orange cited for closing the iconic eatery. “Joe hopes to reopen in three months, but we shall see. We don’t want Bearden’s to stay closed,” Koran said. Orange could not be reached for comment.
Responding to a question from Ward 3 Councilman Michael Mylen about zoning for the area, Koran said that the neighborhood had been rezoned three times during his eight-year tenure. “The new development code permits mixed use. We could see someone purchase it for mixed use,” he stated, referring to the fact that the area could house a combination of residential and commercial properties. He added that the townhouses range in price from $360,000 to $400,000, and only two of the 11 units are occupied.
Koran also stressed the need for continued support of Lake Road businesses during the construction project, which is hoped to wrap up early this summer. “After Bearden’s closed, we called all the businesses, and they’re all hurting. We need to stay loyal,” he said. Koran continued that the city is keeping in touch with the businesses as well as residents, updating them on the progress of the project. Lake Road businesses are also featured on the cover of the 2011 Rocky River Residents’ Reference. “We’re trying to do as much as we can, but the reality is that they’re hurting,” he stated.
Another area of developmental concern, the Rockport shopping center, was also addressed by Koran. “There is a new tenant anxiously looking at the (former) Target. It’s not dead, but it is in a holding pattern,” Koran said, adding that he will be speaking to potential tenants this week. Asked by Councilman at Large James Schieda about the status of the current businesses in the plaza, Koran responded that Performance Bicycle and Huntington Bank are “holding on,” while Panera Bread is “hopping.”
“I’m more concerned about the north side of Center Ridge (Road),” Koran stated, referring to what he called “significant vacancies,” which include the former Rocky River Pour House and a small office building across Center Ridge from Rockport.
On a positive note, Koran noted numerous openings of new businesses, including four at the Beachcliff Market Square. He said only one vacancy remains. Two popular restaurants, Joe’s on Hilliard,and Stino da Napoli, currently on Detroit Road, are expanding, reported Koran. Joe’s will construct a new building on its current property, while Stino is moving to the far end of the CVS Plaza on Detroit. He said part of the new restaurant will face adjacent Linda Street, forming a dining area with the Wine Bar and Market.
Koran also put to rest rumors of Heinen’s moving. He said the grocery store is making $3 million worth of interior renovations. Mayor Pam Bobst commented, “They’re making a tremendous investment. They have no intention to close or move.”