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Shuttered Massillon Kmart could be developed for new retail shops

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:36:26-05

MASSILLON, Ohio — Attention Kmart shoppers: Your days of looking for deals at the former retail giant are numbered. The last two Kmart stores in Ohio will be shuttered within a few weeks.

However, there is hope for new business at three Northeast Ohio Kmart buildings that have either closed or are getting ready to close.

The Blue Light Special flickered out at the Massillon location on Lincoln Way East when the store closed in 2017.

The city's economic development director, David Maley, said the owner of the property, Kamin Reality, is in promising talks with a company interested in redeveloping the site and bringing in several retail shops.

"If they follow through with what they're talking about, we would be very excited about it," Maley said. "To have a building sit here vacant, it's difficult. We want to get something in there."

Maley would not mention the the name of the possible developer or potential shops.

Robert Lang, vice president of real estate and general counsel for Kamin Reality, said the company is talking to several potential users and and the property will be kept for retail use.

John Sargent, a Massillon resident, said he would like to see something different moved into the property, which measures about 105,000 square feet over 11 acres.

"Kmart is a dying business with the other competition. You got Amazon. You got Walmart. You got too much competition," Sargent said. "It's better to have something there for the community as far as something different around here."

Dawn Morrow, from Navarre, said the vacant building hurts the value of the community.

"It's bringing people down in general," Morrow said. "There's nothing there, so by adding more shopping places like that, it will actually allow people to go back to work too."

The Kmart on South Avenue in Tallmadge is scheduled to close this weekend. That property was purchased by U-Haul and will be turned into a storage facility with a small retail space, according to city officials.

The Kmart in North Canton, which will be the last remaining Ohio location, is slated to close Feb. 16.

Patrick DeOrio, the city administrator, said six businesses or developers have expressed an interest in the property, including the city.

"We're not interested in another low-end strip plaza. That doesn't do much for property values and job creation," DeOrio said.