Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rockport Shopping Center in Rocky River, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart

     The Rockport shopping center at 20001 Center Ridge Road in Rocky River, Ohio was built in 1964 by the Rockport Associates Company. This shopping center lies on 7 Acres of land. Rockport underwent a massive remodel in 1992 (giving it the current look). The shopping center currently has 210,000 square feet of retail space (most of which is vacant).

     I am not certain when the 43,797 square foot Rini-Rego grocery store opened up, but the facade points to a mid-1990s store. The Rini-Rego store remained open for a short time after Giant Eagle purchased Rini-Rego's parent company (Riser Foods) in 1997. The store briefly became Giant Eagle before a new Giant Eagle was built a couple of miles away in the Early 2000s. 

     The 105,000 square foot Target store was built in 1997, but I am unsure what discount store had a store on that site before. Historical imagery on Google Earth make it appear that the store before Target may have been one of the first Kmart stores. 

     The Target relocated in 2008 to a new shopping center nearby built on the site of the former Westgate Mall. In late February 2012 it was announced that the remaining section of strip mall will be torn-down for a new apartment complex. The owners (Wald & Fisher Incorporated) will retain ownership of the former Target. The company claims that some retail companies are expressing interest into the former Target store. 

     I am looking for some information on this Rockport's early days, but I have been unable to track down anything but the company that built it and the year it was built.

Here is a site plan I found at showcase.com

Here are the photos I took of this Shopping center on March 31st, 2012.

According to the site plan this was a Gags & games store

The former mid-90s style Rini-Rego grocery store


Torn-down section of the shopping center; the old grocery store is in the background.



Receiving for the old Rini-Rego / Giant Eagle grocery store




The only proof I found that Pier 1 Imports once had a store in this shopping center.

An empty lot where the now torn-down section of this shopping center was once located.

The left side of the former Target; this side was once connected to a now torn down section of this shopping center. The Hometown Buffet was the tenant attached to the left of the Target.

The terrace on the front of the former Target store looks like it has saw better days. There is also the pharmacy sign's label-scar is visible behind the tree.

A "Fire Door" on the front of the former Target

The boarded up main entrance and the abondoned bike rack

A close-up of the boarded up main entrance

Where the main Target sign used to be; the Target label-scar is barely still visible.

This is a shot showing the side of the secondary entrance.

The secondary entrance to the old Target

A close-up of the boarded up secondary entrance





The former receiving area for Target

The back entrance to the old Target


Another example of graffiti; notice that this is nearly identical to the one on the back of the former grocery store that also said "TEBS". 

The side of the old Target that used to be attached to a now torn-down part of the shopping center as viewed from behind the store.

21 comments:

  1. Was the Hometown Buffet what was torn down?

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    1. Yes, it was one of the places torn down.

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    2. Was the Hometown Buffet connected to Target?

      Dylan Palmer

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    3. The Hometown Buffet building was connected, but there would have been no interior connection between them.

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  2. When I moved to Cleveland in 1994, there was a much smaller Handy Andy hardware/home improvement located where the Target was, from old newspapers it appears they bought it in 1987 and it closed in 1996. There was a US Merchandise on the north west quadrant of the lot that had previously closed. Both were torn down for the Target.

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  3. Ah, another piece of the puzzel! I looked it up as Handy Andy and found out that the store was once Forest City (a brand I have never heard of). Do you know if it originally opened as Forest City? Thank You for telling me this.

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  4. I recently found out that Loews Theatre opened here in 1966, was added onto in 1970 to make it have two screens, and closed in 1995. Family Toy Warehouse was in the Loews afterwards and closed in 2000. The Loews was demolished in 2008. (according to http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/7408) . I also found out that the discount store there was originally called Forest City (not Kmart like I stated as a possibility before). Anonymous said above that Forest City later became a Handy Andy Home Improvement store. I will update this post soon in light of the Loews Theatre, The Forest City/ Handy Andy, and the U.S. Merchandise store.

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  5. I cannot speak for the Rocky River location but here in Mentor we had a Forest City (fantastic store)in the 80's which changed to Handy Andy and is now a Best Buy.

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  6. There was also a Forest City turned Handy Andy in N Olmsted now where Home Depot stands. There was also one in Brooklyn also now where Home Depot is on Brookpark.

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  7. I took some photos of the replacement Giant Eagle and Target stores in nearby shopping centers. I will add those to this post soon.

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  8. I have heard that the remaining Rockport center is to be torn-down & new condos or apartments planned.

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    1. I heard everything, but the old Target is going to be demolished.

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  9. Once upon a time there was a nice Brown Derby on the South Side (near where the old Family Toy was). I think that space became the Buffet. There was a also a health club where the Pier One/Performance Cycle store is. I belonged there for a while back in the late 70's/early 80's. Can't remember what it was, tho - Vic Tanny maybe? There was a small indoor swimming pool in the back part of the site!!

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  10. In the 70s there was Gardner's Children's (clothing) Store, Our Gang Restaurant, Marshall's Drug Store, then Gray Drug then Rite Aid, TCBY, a jewelry store (briefly around 1989), Sears Optical, Pisanelli's (a wonderful pastry shop), and way before that, a VIP Yarn store. Sally Beauty Supply was also there for years.

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  11. At one time the Marshall's / Gray Drug was a Cunningham's Drug Store.

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  12. They did demolish the remaining Rockport Shopping center just a week ago

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  13. My mom took us to Gardners as kids in the 70s and we rode a mechanical horse for a nickel. It was right there when you walked in. I spent alot of time hanging around this mall and westgate, hate seeing it go.

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  14. The Forest City Materials store was there from as far back as I can remember until 1987, when the Forest City Materials part of Forest City Enterprises was purchased by Handy Andy, a home center chain based in Chicago. Handy Andy went out of business in 1996. That particular store closed in May of that year.
    For those who are unfamiliar with the Forest City name, it was a store like Home Depot or Lowe's. It was generally smaller than those stores, but then again that was before the "big box" store came to be.
    The U. S. Merchandise store that was in the northwest part of the parking lot was not torn down at the same time as Handy Andy. It was torn down many years before, after having been there for only a short time (maybe a year or two?).
    I worked at Forest City/Handy Andy for over 16 1/2 years, and was the receiving manager when Handy Andy went out of business.

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  15. If I recall correctly Builders Square opened up at Westport, which later became the Home Depot that's there today. The Rini Rego / Stop 'n Shop was there in the late 80s, and probably earlier than that.

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  16. Okay, I think I've got the story. Rego's was an original tenant, along with Ponderosa, Brown Derby, Swift Service (never heard of them), and Forest City. Saul Doppelt developed the center around 1965 for the benefit of his friends and family. Saul died in the late 1970s but I believe his widow is alive today and living in Florida. His trust sold the property to Rockport Associates (Wald and Fisher, who own it to this day) in the early 1980s. The new owners made an effort to modernize the shopping center. Target arrived in 1997 and left for a bigger store in Westgate ten years later.

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