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Solar center plans moved along
Solar center plans moved along
By SUE REID
Plans that had been halted for the redevelopment of the Solar Shopping Center in Solon appear to be back on track.
ECHO Development, out of Pittsburgh, is to submit formal plans to the city for the redevelopment of the center at SOM Center (Route 91) and Aurora (Route 43) roads.
City Council agreed Monday to forward the appropriate public bodies, including the planning commission and council's safety and public properties and public works committees.
In addition, council approved an ordinance accepting the proposal of URS for a traffic impact study related to the redevelopment of the center at a cost of slightly more than $19,000. In the event ECHO does not require the deed title of the property and complete the redevelopment of the center, it is committed to reimbursing the city up to $20,000.
Mayor Susan A. Drucker said she wanted to protect the city's interest.
"It's always seemed in that past that it would get close, and then there'd be an issue," Mrs. Drucker said of the redevelopment plans. "If we are going to have a traffic study, I want a development out of it."
Although she has not yet seen a formal site plan, Mrs. Drucker said the project would include a rebuilt Giant Eagle supermarket and redevelopment of the majority of the shopping center. She said her administration has been working with ECHO and meeting with the company on a regular basis.
"We will help them move this process along," she said. "We want this project to come to fruition. The residents deserve it.
"What was passed at the ballot is what we are trying to bring to voters," Mrs. Drucker said of the Solon voters' approval of rezoning for the project.
In November 2009, voters approved a rezoning request to allow for a Get-Go gas station near a proposed new Giant Eagle supermarket.
Those plans for redevelopment of the plaza hit a wall since that time. In April 2010, Giant Eagle officials said the developer was facing financial challenges.
In August, the city, after learning of a lawsuit involving the owners of the shopping center, placed a temporary moratorium of nine months on any development of the property that is not in accordance with the development agreement in place since 2009. According to the lawsuit, filed in June in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, the entities involved in the center's ownership cannot unanimously agree to go forward and develop the property.
As of this month, a contract is in place for ECHO to take over the deed of the property. Last week, a stipulation was filed in the case between the Perlick-Caplin family, owners of the shopping center, their trusts and ECHO that a contract is in place to sell the property to move forward with the deal. There are still contingencies that need to take place before the property is transferred.
Mrs. Drucker said the purpose of Monday's City Council action was to get ECHO on all the necessary committee agendas.
Philip A. Bishop, vice president of ECHO Real Estate Services Co., was in attendance at the meeting. He said following the meeting that ECHO will submit formal plans to the planning commission, at which time they will be made public. He declined further comment.
Mrs. Drucker said the ECHO project will not be identical to what was proposed by the Perlick-Caplin family but will be "quite similar."
"The city has been working diligently with the developer, with Giant Eagle and the management company to solidify a deal for redevelopment of the shopping center and the new Giant Eagle," she said. "I think we are moving in the right direction."
Robert Borella, of Giant Eagle's corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, said last week that some recent events have helped facilitate the plans to restart and accelerate the efforts for the redevelopment of the Solar Center and to bring an updated shopping experience for Giant Eagle customers. "We are excited to have that shared at Monday's meeting," he said.
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