By Sue Botos
Some long-dormant properties on Center Ridge Road may soon be given new life.
Mayor Pam Bobst announced at Monday’s City Council committee meeting that a multiuse residential/retail complex is being planned for the former Rockport Shopping Center. She added that the former Donato’s Pizza restaurant on Center Ridge Road will house a new-concept Winking Lizard “Lizardville” eatery.
City officials are offering no details, as yet, on the proposed Rockport development due to the finalization process of the contract. Bobst did comment that the site will contain a “high-end residential development.” She added that the contractor has done similar work in the Columbus area.
Ward 4 Councilman John Shepherd, whose ward includes Rockport, commented, “It’s great to hear the project is proceeding.” He added that after finalization, a public meeting will be held for residents.
Shepherd did not elaborate on planned businesses for the complex, but it is expected that the Huntington Bank, now in the strip center, will be rebuilt as a free-standing building. The remaining portion of the strip mall will be razed.
Economic development Director Kory Koran commented, when reached by phone, that the estimated $15 million project will bring new life to the area. He added that tentative plans are under way to fill the former Target building, which is owned by Wald & Fisher, Inc.
Bobst also announced that plans are underway to convert the former Donato’s to a “Lizardville,” a departure from the usual large, full-service Winking Lizard restaurants.
According to information on Winking Lizard’s website, the first Lizardville Beer Store and Whiskey Bar is set to open soon in Bedford Heights. It will be a small space, offering hundreds of beer choices, plus a large selection of whiskey. The goal, according to the company, will be to “educate people about the brown liquors” by employing a small, educated staff.
Partner John Lane said that a limited menu, mostly meats and cheeses to nibble on while sampling drinks, will be available.