Come the fall semester, JCU students and surrounding residents will have a new stomping ground to satisfy their restaurant and retail cravings. Cedar Center North, the plaza located off of Cedar Road, west of Warrensville Center Road, is currently undergoing a renovation that includes almost a dozen new restaurant and retail stores.
The “Cedar Center North Redevelopment Project,” according to South Euclid Community Services Director Keith Benjamin, was a revitalization assignment that has been several years in the making. The property was purchased by South Euclid in 1996 at a time in which 40 percent of the plaza was vacant.
“For many years the plaza had deteriorated to the point where some of the buildings were declared nuisances,” said Benjamin. “There was an old movie theater that had been vacant for well over a decade, and the roof was caving in. The purpose was to create a new destination of restaurants and retail and a gathering place for our community.”
Thus far, mainly restaurants have been announced on the real estate release, including Panera Bread and Bakery, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Chipotle Mexican Grill and China Gate Chinese Restaurant, many of which will have outdoor dining.
The current Starbucks that resides on the corner of Cedar and Warrensville Center will be reconstructed in the new plaza with a drive-thru window. The two tenants currently open in the plaza include Bob Evans and GFS Foods.
The renovated area will also be home to an Italian restaurant chain found only in Columbus.
Known as Piada Italian Street Food, this restaurant will be new to residents of the greater Cleveland area and follows the same concept as Chipotle, according to Benjamin.
“It’s an Italian street food concept from the creators of the Bravo and Brio restaurant chain,” he said. “The food is served on Italian flatbread, and there are a lot of choices of chicken, salmon, beef and veggies, and they have pastas and salads as well.”
PetSmart is one of the several retail stores that will find their place in the plaza in the late summer/early fall. It expects to be joined by other national and local retailers that have yet to be announced. Once completed, Benjamin believes the new center will draw JCU students, as well as students from Notre Dame College and surrounding residents of South Euclid, Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
“There will be a community gathering green space where we will be able to have band concerts, arts and crafts festivals and movie nights where residents and college students will be able to go out and enjoy the nice weather and hopefully eat food, relax and have a good time,” he said.