Westgate Mall was originally constructed in 1955 as a strip shopping center. Located in the Cleveland suburbs of Fairview Park and Rocky River, it was later enclosed. The Richard E. Jacobs Group acquired the mall in 1984 and successfully ran it as a profitable venture for nearly two decades. However in the early 2000s, Westgate’s fortunes, like those of many older enclosed malls around the country, began to decline due to changing consumer shopping preferences, newer shopping options and suburban sprawl.
As a solution, The Jacobs Group and its partners made plans to redevelop the 55-acre property into a 500,000-square-foot pedestrian friendly, outdoor power center. The goal was to create a unique and vibrant mix of anchors, specialty shops and restaurants that would serve Westgate’s well-established trade area. Demolition of Westgate began in 2005 with the existing Kohl’s store remaining open during the redevelopment. “This is good news for Fairview Park and surrounding communities. A historically important retail site for our area will remain as retail and Westgate will be reborn as a new center that will provide convenient and accessible shopping for our residents,” said the Fairview Park mayor at the time.
A grand re-opening was held in 2008 and Westgate became the first enclosed mall in Northeast Ohio to be redeveloped into a lifestyle and power center. In addition to Kohl’s, other anchors included Target, Lowe’s and Earth Fare. They were joined by dozens of other national and local retailers and restaurants. After nearly three decades of ownership, The Jacobs Group sold Westgate, which was 94 percent occupied, to a real estate investment trust in 2012 for $73.4 million.