Centerville residents get closer look at $146M development project

Centerville leaders say a local developer’s $146 million plan will help bring new energy to the city and help invigorate its economy, and residents last week had their first chance for a closer look at the proposal.

Larry Dillin, through Larry Dillin LLC, is developing the Centerville Place project and said it will include retail, restaurant, office and residential elements.

Centerville Place is currently a 325,000 square-foot shopping strip that houses businesses like Bath and Body Works, Great Clips, Starbucks, Kroger Marketplace and other retailers.

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Potential redevelopment plans show a small stage or platform toward the entrance to the development, surrounded by existing and new retailers.

In 2017, city officials approved a concept plan for Centerville Place that envisioned redevelopment of the shopping center at State Route 48 between Sheehan and Spring Valley roads – including the old Kroger store, which has been vacant since Kroger built a new Marketplace store nearby.

At an open house presentation on Thursday, several residents inquired about the issues of finance, mix of businesses, design and architecture, as well as engineering and infrastructure.

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Residents asked if local, regional or national businesses will be involved in the mix of new development and if local business Restoration Hardware will still exist after the project is done.

Those who attended offered ideas for businesses, including fast casual and sit-down restaurants, a vision center, cell phone service, a spa/salon, a few national stores or restaurants like First Watch or Northstar, or an upscale bakery.

Residents could write questions on easels, and some of those focused on housing. Some wondered if it would be like the apartments at The Greene. “Really interested in brownstones, patio homes and other residential options,” one person wrote.

Traffic concerns and planning for road projects were two issues residents wrote that they wanted to see Dillin and city officials address as the project moves forward.

Widening State Route 48 and surrounding streets like Sheehan to ease traffic congestion, consideration for bike routes to access the development and making sure that handicap accessibility is a priority were a few of the suggestions made.

“If adding residential, what about coordination with the school district for more students?” a resident asked.

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Centerville councilman Mark Engert said the city looks forward to engaging citizens, hearing their feedback and sharing more information as it becomes available.

“Centerville Place will enhance our community by improving the economy, quality of life and overall attractiveness to those who choose Centerville in the near and long-term future,” Engert said.

Dillin, who is the developer for Austin Landing, has been quietly crafting a redevelopment plan for the Centerville Place property. Current tenants will continue their leases and will be offered the opportunity to occupy space in the newly created property alongside a collection of new tenants and services.

“This is a gateway community project that will redefine the way people think about Centerville as they enter from the south,” Dillin said.

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