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Top 10 Retail Center Experiences: No. 8 Eton Chagrin Boulevard

Daybreaker continues its countdown of the Top 10 Retail Center Experiences named in the July-August edition of Chain Store Age.

This Stark Enterprises center in an affluent Cleveland suburb makes your head turn as you drive past the mundane strip centers surrounding it. There, amid diners and bank branches and old office buildings, sits (Can it be?) a European village town center.

Flower beds, gas lamps, and umbrella tables line a cobblestone walk leading to luxe shops like Kendra Scott, Brooks Brothers, Sur La Table, Orvis, and Tiffany & Co., along with Barnes & Noble and Apple stores. Dining options include Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Bravo Cucina Italiana, Mitchell’s Fish Market, and Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar.

The former Eton Collection mall was purchased by developer Bob Stark in 2004, who spent $40 million to turn the enclosed mall inside-out, with distinct storefronts and sidewalk entrances. It’s a renovation strategy that many embattled mall owners are just now starting to employ.

In 2013, Stark acquired adjoining office and apartment properties to create the development’s West End. No expense is spared on atmospherics and, in 2018, Eton Chagrin Boulevard won the Project of the Year award Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association.

We asked Stark why he never bought the tired old strip center with the barber shop and the dry cleaner across the street and expanded there. “I tried to buy it, but Eton brought so much business to the owner that he refused to sell it,” Stark said with a laugh.

Stay tuned for daily profiles of the next two centers. Until then, catch up on what you missed:

No. 1 Easton Town Center
No. 2 Northpark Center
No. 3 Avalon
No. 4 Westfield Garden State Plaza
No. 5 Mall of America
No. 6 Destiny USA
No. 7 Chestnut Hill Square
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