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Temporary tenants part of long-term Northway plans

| Friday, June 6, 2014, 8:54 p.m.

Developers of the Shoppes at Northway say temporary tenants and events at the mall all are part of a larger plan that will bring long-term tenants to the struggling shopping center.

Gun shows, a diaper derby, a thrift store and a large tent selling surface rugs in what was once the Borders parking lot have drawn shoppers to the near empty-walkways of Northway for the past several months, which Gary O'Nesti, special projects manager for Levey & Co., which owns the mall, said keeps the name “Northway” from fading away.

The mall, built in 1962, has seen a steady decline in tenants in the past decade and has switched ownership several times.

Most recently Levey & Co., based in Akron, Ohio, acquired the Shoppes at Northway, once called the Northway Mall, for $12 million in November 2012 and announced plans to recruit larger retail stores and revitalize the mall.

“When we initially made this presentation, we said we're going to accommodate temporary tenants and hold temporary shows,” O'Nesti said. “We're in the process of putting together a larger plan.”

No major tenants have been announced, though, O'Nesti said, he expects to have news in the coming months.

In February, Levey reported that 43 percent of the leasable space was occupied. Longtime mall anchor Dick's Sporting Goods left Northway last month and moved further north on McKnight Road to McCandless Crossing.

Northway Dollar also plans to leave the mall in the coming months, according to the owners.

In December, Repurposed, a thrift and consignment store run by a local nonprofit organization opened at the mall, and store manager Autumn Bullion said the store's lease terms are month by month and might change as the mall is redeveloped.

“We don't know how long we'll be here because no one is really sure what's going on with the mall,” Bullion said.

She said the mall has been a good spot for the store business and that the events, especially the gun shows, have drawn large crowds.

Repurposed benefits Living in Liberty, which assists women and children who are victims of human trafficking, and is closed on Sundays because of its religious affiliation.

The annual used-book sale benefiting Anchorpoint Counseling Ministry, an event that has been a fixture at the mall for years, is from June 7 to 12.

Tom Krohe of Cranberry Township and several friends occasionally use the tables on the second floor of Northway as a quiet place to play cards.

“We're just hoping we get some stores in here,” he said.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. Reach her at kshea@tribweb.com or at 724-772-6353.

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