Mayfield Road's retail development in Mayfield Heights lacks a sense of identity, according to planners who have proposed a $45,000 strategic plan the corridor.
Mayor Gregory Costabile, who presented the idea to City Council for approval, said at a committee meeting Monday that the study represents the next step following the 2004 master plan, which he called "more of a wish list of where the city should go in the next 10 to 15 years."
The strategic plan would be prepared by URS, represented Monday by engineer Chris Nielson and J. Jeffrey Homans, vice president of planning and environmental services. Participating with them would be the Coral Company, a commercial development group.
Coral Company President and CEO Peter Rubin said there's potential for Mayfield Heights to become the core of the entire length of Mayfield Road. But he stressed the need for outdoor gathering spaces.
"You have a lot of places along Mayfield Road, but no central place," Rubin said.
He added that an assessment of what the community wanted help fill vacant spaces at Shaker Square, which is now 97 percent occupied. A survey of Mayfield Heights residents would be part of the strategic plan.
One area of concern has already been singled out – the Mayland shopping center. Homans said the area covers almost 15 acres and needs an update to a more contemporary look such as at Mayfield Town Center.
"It's obviously very under-utilized," Homans said. "It's a likely candidate to be a priority evaluation area."
Ben Stocum, a member of the city's Board of Zoning Appeals, questioned what the city can do about the shopping center because it's privately owned.
Rubin said cities have various tools that can be used, whether it's zoning changes, inspections or economic incentives, to get cooperation from property owners or encourage new ownership.
In the case of Cedar Center, he said his company saw an opportunity and bought the property.
"What was there was nearly as dysfunctional as Mayland," Rubin said.
Despite the amount of obsolete retail spaces along Mayfield Road, Rubin saw a positive in the number of thriving businesses in Mayfield Heights.
"The market is still very strong," he said.