Goodwill closure adds another vacancy at Midway Plaza

Krista S. Kano
Kent Weeklies
This well-known sign towers over Midway Plaza in 2011

Tallmadge's Goodwill closed Nov. 22 after 15 years in the city, leaving yet another vacancy in the Midway Plaza.

The 160,000-square-foot strip mall is now about 80% vacant with only four remaining tenants, including Save A Lot and Rent-A-Center. Most of the 18-acre property is in Tallmadge, but the front of the parking lot is in Akron. 

"That's certainly not good news," Tallmadge Planning Director and Economic Developer Matthew Springer said.

"Certainly this is a gateway property into our community and that site, in many ways, fits the definition of blight. This is a renewed opportunity to reach out, reengage with the property owners who live out of state and certainly haven't shown a real indication to reinvest back into the property. This is a conversation we're going to have very soon." 

Owner Namdar Realty Group of Great Neck, New York bought the plaza in 2016 for $1.25 million. Peter Wilk, who owns a marketing company that represented Namdar at the time, previously said that they specialize in buying distressed retail centers and other properties and turning them around. 

In Tallmadge, however, that has not been the case, Mayor David Kline said. 

"From the city of Akron, you go down West Avenue, enter Tallmadge and the first thing they see is a broken down building. Sink some money into it. Who would want to move into mildew, black mold and empty store fronts?" Kline said. 

"I think it's served its purpose, and in my opinion it's a teardown. That's up to the owner, and I'm not sure if they really know where Tallmadge, Ohio is located."

Namdar did not respond to a request for comment.

In a news release, Goodwill Retail Operations Vice President Dee Dee Collura said that closing the Tallmadge location was a "difficult decision" but that "eliminating the fixed cost of a store site will help offset expenses incurred during this challenging year due to COVID-19."

On Monday as she was helping the Tallmadge team move out, Collura noted that the lease agreement ends on Nov. 30 and that the vacancies in the plaza did play into their decision making.

"We really haven't had a lot of contact with the plaza owner, although we have reached out," Collura said. 

Goodwill's other Summit County locations — including stores in Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Lakemore, Northfield and Twinsburg and the boutique and outlet in Akron — remain open.

"We absolutely are looking for another location in Tallmadge," she said. 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.