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Work On University Square Redevelopment Could Begin This Summer

The University Square shopping center could see major changes this summer, pending an agreement between a developer and the City of University Heights.

A proposal from developers Kowit & Co. calls for creating roughly 200 apartments and new retail space from the existing shopping center. A portion of the parking garage would come down and some parts of the building would be demolished to create courtyards facing Cedar Road.

University Heights approved tax increment financing for the project in January, said Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, and the proposal has seen widespread support.

“After many years of this property being in decline, we are very eager to get this underway,” Brennan said.

There’s a need for additional apartments and housing in University Heights, Brennan said, and the development would bring change to an area that needs it. University Square has faced foreclosure and changed hands several times, Brennan said.

“Due to, perhaps we could say mismanagement of the property, primarily, the development overall failed,” he said. “We have a very successful Target, we have a successful Macy’s, but what we don’t have is a successful project.”

The proposal would not change the Macy’s and Target stores, Brennan said, as those companies own their properties. But the rest of University Square would undergo renovations to add additional floors for apartments, and the façade would be replaced with something that better suits an apartment complex, he said.

The proposed changes still need additional approvals before work can begin.

“A development agreement needs to be finalized, needs to go through planning and architectural review,” Brennan said. “[The development] needs to go to the Board of Zoning Appeals for anything that needs to be decided by them, variance-wise, should that come up.”

The initial proposal covers the first phase of the redevelopment. Additional changes could come in the next few years, Brennan said, as officials evaluate the market and determine what else the community needs.

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