Mayland redevelopers seek financial assistance from Mayfield Heights to pay for necessary infrastructure

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MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – Stating that the planned redevelopment of the destroyed old Mayland Mall, now demolished, will increase its value by five times its old county valuation, the developers ask the city to partner with them by contributing 2 million dollars to help pay for the infrastructure costs of the project.

The city council plenary committee heard an update on Monday (November 22) from developers on the Mayfield Road project which has Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and Sheetz as future tenants, as well as the now-open Starbuck’s.

Michael Occhionero, who partnered with landowner Larry Ottino and Ray Negrelli to redevelop the site across from Mayfield Ridge Road, addressed the committee and called what was a largely vacant shopping area “ravaged,” “horror” and “in our opinion, a stain on the city and its image.

“There were no substantial leases on the property,” he said. “There were very few employees working in the businesses that were open. There were three different owners of the 13 acres. On top of that, we had an oil and gas well in the middle of the property which was preventing development. We had countless easements. The Boneyard (entertainment / dining room) property was underperforming, the restaurant was about to close, and O’Reilly’s (Auto Parts) was on sale.

“All of this, almost two years ago to the day, pointed to years of trouble on the horizon for the city, residents, law enforcement, firefighters and almost anyone who cares about the environment. city. “

Occhionero said Ottino brought him and Negrelli, both full owners, to work on the Mayland project. Ottino, originally from Mayfield Heights, developed, among others, Mayfield Heights Towne Center (1220-1260 SOM Center Road) and Panera Bread (6036 Mayfield Road).

Advocating further for the partnership with the city, Occhionero explained how Ottino had to raise the funding, contract the properties and demolish the site, which Occhionero called a “nightmare” because, in addition to the large size of the site, including asbestos and remediation issues.

The developers also had to deal with the effects of the pandemic and the purchase of oil, which required dealing with each of its 25 partners.

“I don’t need to tell you what this property looked like, what the asphalt looked like, what the parking lot looked like, what the buildings looked like, to know how hard it was.”

Occhionero said that according to the county books, before Ottino bought Mayland his buildings had a total value of $ 3.25 million and the land was $ 3.65 million for a total of 6. $ 9 million. He said that once the project is completed, the new buildings and grounds will each be worth $ 16-18 million, giving the entire site a value of $ 32-36 million.

The plan is to make the entire development pedestrian friendly, with sidewalks that are wider than normal. It also calls for improved lighting; the use of paving stones instead of asphalt; and the commission of a sculptor to create a work to be held at the end of the road in the development. He said the sculpture would be visible from Mayfield Road and give it a “wow factor”.

Developers have also had to work hard to attract users for the buildings, users that don’t include those that city leaders don’t favor, such as housing, big box retailers.

The road to the development, tentatively known as the Mayfield Commons, will require developers to set aside two acres. The road will require infrastructure totaling $ 4-5 million for items such as water pipes, sanitary sewers, lighting that complements pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, entrances and exits, “world-class” landscaping. and a new monument panel.

In addition, according to the design manual that the city created for the future development of Mayfield Road, the buildings will be placed close to the street, but Occhionero said the developers still want to create barriers between the buildings and the street.

Due to the need for the infrastructure to create a development the city would be proud of and the “financial hardships” that this infrastructure creates, Occhionero requested that a partnership be formed with the city to help cover these costs.

Asked by city councilor Michael Ballistrea about future users of the building who might come to Mayland, Occhionero said: “So far we have refused a car wash, an oil change facility, a tire store. We have another restaurant, a national restaurant, for the other lot on Mayfield Road similar to Raising Cane, but with a different product line, which we have on the counter. We had huge fitness facilities that wanted to go to the back. We totally discouraged that.

“We receive calls from housing (builders) every day. We said, ‘No. We are committed to the city not to install housing, apartments or any other form of housing there.

Meanwhile, Sheetz, he said, will begin construction on February 15.

One difficulty, Occhionero said, is that those looking to locate businesses in the area want sites east of Lander Road, while Mayland is west of Lander. The idea for Mayland, Occhionero said, was to create a “mini Village Legacy”

Ottino said: “It’s not really easy to bring in these people (tenants).” Ottino said a restaurant demanded $ 500,000 from developers just to set up in Mayland.

“We’re not going to set up a tire store there,” Ottino said. “We are not going to put all the LOIs (letters of intent from companies) that we have. This is not what we envision. If we did that, we wouldn’t need the road we want, we wouldn’t need the landscaping, paving stones, benches, we wouldn’t need all of that. That is why we come to you (the council and the city) and ask you for a few million dollars for infrastructure.

Ottino said schools would reap an increase in property taxes through the development, which would make it a “win-win situation for everyone” if the city injected $ 2 million.

Councilors Donald Manno and Ballistrea supported the developers’ request for partnership.

Manno said Ottino has “an excellent track record and has always been a class act” and that he would consider partnering with the developers “as an investment for the city to help you with this project.”

Ballistrea added: “I don’t see anything other than Mr. Ottino’s property doing well. He has always worked with the city in the best interests of the city and I don’t think he’s going to fail us in any way. And I think it’s an investment on the part of the city.

Mayor Anthony DiCicco said the administration will look at ways the city could partner with developers and notify them when such avenues are found.

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