COLUMBIANA, Ohio – People who regularly use the intersection of State Routes 7 and 14 in Columbiana may have noticed a new shopping plaza being constructed.
Tom Mackall, originally from Columbiana and now living on Lake Milton, owns what will be called the Town Center at Firestone Farms. He says the project will be ongoing.
“It’s going to take 10 years to do everything,” he said. “I liken it to Cedar Point. We’re going to try and open something new every year.”
At the site on Thursday, pieces of the steel frame were being cut and hung. While in another section, some of the facade was being put in place.
Mackall said the exterior of each building will be unique.
“It’ll look as if each individual place was built kind of like the old downtowns, where one doctor or somebody would have a certain style brick and then next door to that would be a little different style,” he said.
Since no leases have yet been signed, Mackall would not be specific about what businesses are going in.
“There will be multiple restaurants and a grocery store, a hardware store, shops. Also offices. Anything a small town would have,” he said.
He hopes one of the restaurants is Firestone-themed. The grocery store will go across the street and won’t open until 2018.
Mackall, who owns the East Fairfield Coal Company, also owns 884 acres on the corner. The mineral rights were leased — seven wells drilled — and the money is what is paying for the construction.
“Now we have a sufficient revenue stream here to help back us in doing this development,” Mackall said. “The revenue stream will make the payment on this building by itself, without any tenants here.”
Eventually, there will be three buildings at the location, surrounding a town square anchored by a clock tower.
Mackall talked a lot about the legacy of Harvey Firestone — the tire baron born in Columbiana. In fact, he said he hopes a Firestone museum will eventually be part of the project.
“They’re in the process of making this look like it’s Columbiana in the 1930s, when Harvey Firestone had this as a farm,” he said.