As e-commerce ushers in a new era in retail, Amazon is reportedly planning to take root in one of Ohio’s most infamous retail spaces.
According to blueprints obtained by the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, the online giant appears to be readying the development of a nearly 700,000-square-foot fulfillment center on the site of the abandoned Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio — once a thriving shopping center that served as home to more than 140 stores including Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Target.
The redevelopment plan is dubbed Project Carney — likely a salute to Jay Carney, the former White House press secretary-turned-senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Amazon. The documents add that construction on the warehouse is expected to begin in mid-September and run through the end of May next year.
The complex, which will require tearing down what’s left of the mall, will reportedly rise 170 feet tall and span almost 530 feet across the property, with the taxpayer-supported project expected to reclaim hundreds of jobs. Upon the facility’s completion, the Beacon Journal said that Amazon would likely offer between 500 and just under 1,800 jobs, starting at the company’s $15 minimum wage for all employees across the United States.
In a statement to FN, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Amazon is constantly investigating new locations to support the growth and increase the flexibility of its North American network to address customers’ needs. Amazon is not yet commenting on any specific plans in Ohio.”
Over the years, Rolling Acres has garnered widespread attention as haunting images of rotting interiors, desolate storefronts, trash-piled exteriors and overgrown parking lots continue to circulate the internet.
Built in 1975, the mall saw a period of growing foot traffic but ultimately struggled to attract customers as an increasing number of department stores pulled out from their leases. It permanently shut down at the end of 2013 following the departure of its last remaining retail tenant, a J.C. Penney outlet store. Since then, the area has been considered a safety concern in the city, with its ceilings collapsing due to lack of maintenance. A man was also electrocuted after attempting to steal copper wire from the premises, and the body of a missing man was found behind the mall.
This story has been updated with comments from Amazon.
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