By Kevin Kelley
The new owner of Fairview Centre plans to demolish the long-vacant CVS building at the west end of the Lorain Road shopping center.
One or two new stand-alone retail stores will be built in its place, according to Phil Schneider, vice president for asset management at Lamar Companies. The New Jersey-based firm purchased Fairview Centre late last month for $10 million from Mark Schwartz.
Schneider and Lavinia Sherman-Truelove, Lamar’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, were in town last week to meet with Mayor Eileen Patton and other city officials to discuss the future of the struggling center.
Schneider called the former CVS location obsolete.
“It’s more cost-effective to demolish it and build new construction,” he told West Life.
Schneider said his company has not yet decided what to do about the former post office building, which closed in October when the Postal Service opened a retail lobby at its existing operations center at Mastick and Brookpark roads. Lamar would like to find a tenant for the vacant building, Schneider said, but may end up demolishing it as well in favor of new construction.
In addition to demolishing the former CVS store, Schneider said Lamar intends to replace the shopping center’s roof, replace the facade and canopy, upgrade the center’s signage and improve landscaping.
In all, Lamar plans to invest $1.5 to 2 million in the 64-year-old property, Schneider said. The bulk of the work should be completed by the middle of next year, he said.
Lamar’s philosophy is to purchase distressed retail centers, spruce them up and fill vacancies, then sell the property at a profit. Lamar properties are typically held for five to seven years, Schneider said.
As for what types of businesses Lamar is seeking to fill the center’s 15 vacancies, Schneider said his company is willing to talk to any and all potential tenants.
“We don’t get into targeting certain types of stores,” Schneider told West Life. Pursuing a particular company or type of store really doesn’t work, he said, because demographics determine which stores will want to open in a particular shopping center.
Retail centers typically purchased by Lamar include an even mix between national retail chains and local mom-and-pop stores, Schneider said.
“We’re really equal opportunity landlords in that regard,” Schneider said. “You need both.” He added that Fairview Centre will likely maintain that same mix.
Schneider added that the demographics in Fairview Park were very good.
“It seems like a very solid city,” he said, adding that the community has a high density of population and a good mixture of housing styles.