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KENT COUNCIL APPROVES REGIONAL MALL PLANS

 KENT COUNCIL APPROVES REGIONAL MALL PLANS
 KENT, Ohio, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Edward J. DeBartolo


Corporation and Antonia Investments, Ltd. received approval from the Kent City Council Jan. 22 to proceed with plans for its proposed $75 million University Town Center development.
 By a 6 to 2 vote, council approved a request by the developers to rezone 12.6 acres of vacant land along Meloy Road from residential to commercial. Together with the adjacent 43 acres, which have been commercially zoned for nearly 20 years, the 56 acre site will be used to built a two-level mall with approximately 600,000 square feet of space. The facility will have three department stores as well as nearly 80 retail and food court establishments.
 The project, which is located at the southwest corner of State Routes 43 and 261, was first announced over three years ago by the Youngstown-based DeBartolo (the nation's largest mall developer) and joint venture partner Antonia Investments, Ltd. of St. Louis, Mo.
 "We are extremely pleased to receive this strong vote of confidence from the mayor and the city council," commented Edward J. DeBartolo, chairman and chief executive officer. "It has been very gratifying to see how political, business, labor and civic leaders have united in support of this mall."
 At a public hearing that immediately preceded council's vote, business leaders, representatives of organized labor and local residents stressed the positive economic impact that the development would have on the community.
 Financial projections show that the mall will create 400 construction jobs with a payroll of more than $12.6 million. Once the mall opens, an estimated 900 permanent full-time and part-time jobs will be created. The facility will generate more than $3 million a year in new local tax revenues in its first full year of operation. Long-range financial projections estimate that the mall will generate $65 million in new local tax revenues over the next 15 years.
 Also part of the presentation, the developers explained how the mall has been carefully designed and planned to prevent adverse environmental impacts on the nearby community. Supporting that position are the findings of various scientific studies and conclusions by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which studied the plans and concurred that there will be no negative environmental impact.
 Gary G. O'Nesti, projects director, said council's approval will now permit the developers to resume planning for the project, which has been at a standstill since last summer following a state court of appeals decision. The appellate court overruled a 1989 decision by city council, which was upheld by a lower court, that granted a use variance allowing commercial development of 12.6 acres. The Ohio Supreme Court recently agreed to review the appellate court decision.
 Following the appellate court ruling, the developers petitioned the city to rezone the 12.6 acres. The Kent Planning Commission reviewed the request extensively late last year. Last month, the commission recommended to the council, by a 4 to 1 vote, that the rezoning be approved.
 "We plan to start moving ahead again as quickly as we can. We've already lost six to nine months in the process," O'Nesti noted. "If construction were to begin this fall, the mall could be completed and open for business by the end of 1994. But, we still have numerous details to work out. After we have resumed the development process, we will be in a much better position to present the city and the public with a realistic timetable."
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: The Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, 216-758-7292/ CO: The Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation ST: Ohio IN: REA SU:


KK -- CL018 -- 2957 01/23/92 15:51 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 23, 1992
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