BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two years after the Sears building was torn down, the ribbon was cut on the new DeBartolo Commons at the Southern Park Mall.
The enthusiasm was tempered a bit because three of the featured attractions are not yet open.
Mall Manager Brian Gabbert was the first person to officially welcome people to Southern Park’s new entertainment venue while Denise DeBartolo York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers, officially cut the first ribbon.
“I am touched beyond measure. I am attached to Lou Conforti. He feels the legacy. He reminds me so much, so much of my dad,” DeBartolo York said.
Conforti is the former CEO and advisor of Washington Prime Group, which owns the Southern Park Mall. He recently stepped down from the position.
“This is exactly what this great town deserves. I’m proud to have been a small part of it,” Conforti said.
The Commons area, however, is the only part of DeBartolo Commons that’s open. The two restaurants — Steel Valley Brew Works and Double Bogey’s Bar and Grill — both have had supply issues. Steel Valley Brew Works hopes to open in January and Double Bogey’s hopes to open in December. The Bunker, with its golf simulators, can’t open until Double Bogey’s opens.
Still, Melissa Burns, manager of Shelby’s Sugar Shop, and Matt McClure, owner of the Youngstown Clothing Company, both of whom have stores in the mall, like what they see.
“So they want to come play games, they want to have a nice meal, they want to do fun things and they, while they’re here, we want them to shop,” Burns said.
“We’ve been at the mall for a couple years and just to see all this, how beautiful everything is, we’re super excited to be a part of it,” McClure said.
The DeBartolo Commons also includes a new entrance into the mall and can also stage concerts.
Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree says it has transformed the center of the township.
“It’s weird to see it now than when it was on paper. It exceeded my expectations,” Loree said.
Friday night’s event and ribbon cutting were by invitation only. On Saturday, the DeBartolo Commons will be open for everyone to see from noon to 8 p.m.