Chapel Hill Mall could bring more business to Kent (HOLD)

Samantha Cottrill

Kent State students may have to shop elsewhere with Chapel Hill Mall’s survival up for debate, but it could bring more revenue for Downtown Kent.

With more closings than openings, Chapel Hill Mall’s questionable future made headlines last month.

The mall’s Old Navy closed at the end of January, and rumors circulated in articles from and that Express plans to pull out as well.

Macy’s issued a press release in early January that stated it would be closing 40 stores nationwide, including the anchor store in the Chapel Hill Mall that employs 91 associates, in order to save an estimated $400 million.

Thomas Wilke, economic development director of Kent, said, “Since (Chapel Hill Mall) was built, we’ve had the Cascades come in Brimfield, which is very close to Kent, and a lot of development up in Streetsboro, which is also very close to Kent. So I’m sure those developments have taken away some of the business from Chapel Hill.”

He said the mall and downtown Kent do not affect each other except for dining options. “We have a lot of dining options in Downtown Kent,” he said. “If the ones in Kent were developed, that obviously could mean that many more residents [would stay] in Kent to have dinner or lunch, rather than going over to the Chapel Hill area.”


Wilke said he had “limited information” and could not determine whether he thought the mall would stay open with the recent closings.


If the mall were to close he said it would remove a shopping option for Kent students, especially since it is the closest mall to Kent. He also believed that it could bring more dining experiences into Downtown Kent because people might not go to the Chapel Hill area as often.


Unless the casual dining areas in the Chapel Hill area start to close, Wilke said he did not think it will have too much of an effect on Kent.


Chapel Hill Mall’s management office did not answer or return phone calls made to them.