Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio, at its height was home to more than 140 stores, a bustling food court and a movie theater.
Those days, though, are long past. The main mall closed in 2008, leaving behind just two anchor stores. And in 2011, one of those anchors, Sears, closed its doors, too.
Rolling Acres, then, became like many other indoor malls across the Midwest: abandoned.
Bob Raskow, a principal and vice president with Akron’s NAI Cummins, though, has hope that the shuttered mall will one day become a thriving new business. He just doesn’t expect it to ever house retail again.
“I envision this as a campus center for a mixed-use development,” Raskow said, predicting the future life of the formerly busy mall. “The building has the potential to be carved out. But I don’t see it ever operating as retail again.”
Raskow has intimate knowledge of the mall. Working with fellow NAI Cummins professionals Scott Raskow and David Kaplan, Raskow recently helped negotiate the sale of the mall’s former Sears anchor store. Pinnacle Recycling, a paper-recycling business, purchased the 151,000-square-foot building for $700,000.
“This sale has an importance for the community,” Raskow said. “It is attached to a long-vacant deteriorating mall. It’s been a real controversy what happens to that mall.”
This isn’t NAI Cummins’ first experience selling big box buildings attached to the mall. The company formerly sold the Dillard’s and Target anchors.
Selling the former Sears store was no easy task, Raskow said. The biggest challenge? Sears does not quote purchase prices in the Akron market. This meant that the NAI Cummins team had to solicit offers without a firm baseline price from its client.
“We had to work from an unknown to a sales price that everyone was comfortable with,” Raskow said. “I think that the buyer got a good building at a fair price. The building is in excellent condition. It was built well. The buyer got a pretty inexpensive light industrial building.”
Raskow will now, like many Akron residents, watch to see what happens with the mall proper.
“I think it’d be a great facility for government entities or for regional campuses for universities,” Raskow said. “That’s a good topic in our marketplace: What have some of these closed malls in the Midwest been converted to?”
— Dan Rafter