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  Community Day Celebration Marks Beginning Of Renovations At The Southern Park Mall  
  September 12, 2019 Edition  
      •The demolition of the former Sears department store began on Sat., Sept. 7 and will be replaced by DeBartolo Commons that will include an athletic and entertainment green space and event venue
       •Adjacent to DeBartolo Commons, Southern Park Mall will feature a new entertainment hub with plans to include an indoor golf entertainment center, additional entertainment uses, and new food and beverage offerings
       • A renovation of Southern Park Mall, that was built by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, is also scheduled to include a dynamic common area including a permanent DeBartolo-York family installation as well as several differentiated and exciting new tenants.
       COLUMBUS, OH.---Washington Prime Group Inc. has announced a partnership with the DeBartolo-York family to design a new four-acre athletic and entertainment green space and event venue to be named DeBartolo Commons located at Southern Park Mall. The project is just a portion of the planned $30 million in renovations planned at the mall.
      In addition to the DeBartolo-York family, Boardman Township and its park district are also partners with Washington Prime Group regarding the creation of this one-of-a-kind venue that will serve the approximately 565,000 individuals who call the Greater Youngstown metropolitan area.
      “I am lucky to have become friends with several members of the DeBartolo-York family and the two characteristics which define every single one of them are generosity and loyalty. These traits are best illustrated by their continuing devotion to their hometown. Thus, it is only fitting Washington Prime Group recognizes this unequivocal love for the locale which has served as the catalyst for their many business achievements and philanthropic goodwill.
      “As a testament to their philanthropy, my father and I have witnessed it firsthand. The generosity of the DeBartolo-York family has been instrumental regarding the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame of which my father, a former amateur boxer, serves on its Board. Born in Calabria, Italy, he often speaks of Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. and the entire family as exemplars of giving back to a community or organization worthy of such generosity. Washington Prime Group is honored to be affiliated with this great family, and as importantly, to provide Greater Mahoning Valley with an amenity for all to enjoy.”
      Denise DeBartolo York noted that “Conforti has the vision, drive and resources to restore Southern Park Mall into the social and entertainment center of Boardman. I appreciate Lou’s time and talent in this endeavor and am very excited that my Dad’s legacy will continue.”
      In addition, the WP announced the creation of a new entertainment hub at Southern Park Mall, which is expected to be anchored by several exciting venues, each overlooking DeBartolo Commons and including a new 37,000 sq-ft indoor golf entertainment center and accompanying restaurant; a new entertainment venue featuring interesting food and beverage options combined with fun leisure activities; and additional new dining options. In addition to their proximity to DeBartolo Commons, these venues will benefit from their adjacency to the recently renovated Cinemark Theaters.
      “The redevelopment underway at Southern Park Mall brings with it new opportunities for the community. The township as a whole benefits anytime we see redevelopment with job growth, new construction standards such as green space and stormwater retention, and, in this case, a sense of place developed in the center of the Township that is bringing excitement back to a level when the center was first developed by Mr. DeBartolo,” said Larry Moliterno, chairman of Boardman Township Trustees.
      The announcement of the renovations mark the kickoff of a major renovation of Southern Park Mall, which will coincide with its 50th anniversary in 2020 and honor the legacy of Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. and the DeBartolo-York family. A transformation is underway to strengthen Southern Park Mall as the hub of retail, dining and entertainment in the area. With plans to invest millions of dollars into the town center over the next several years, the long term vision for Southern Park Mall is reflective of the community. Plans have been thoughtfully put together with the Boardman community and Trustees, surrounding communities, and existing tenants, said Matt Jurkowitz, WP vice president/development.
      Conforti, a unqiue gentleman to be sure, offered a final thought:
      “Youngstown and my hometown Chicago have a heck of a lot in common. Both have a ‘no nonsense’ approach characterized by a ‘tough as nails’ work ethic. They both recognize the importance of family. As importantly, both cities really appreciate good food whether it be pizza, pierogi or corned beef hash. While which one of our cities has the best pizza will be the subject of debate for years to come, both Youngstowners and Chicagoans can agree the greasy slice New Yorkers fold and call pizza is practically inedible. I do have to admit, Mahoning Valley has the Windy City beat hands down when it comes to wedding soup, as well as the decadent display of confectionery and caloric excess you guys call the ‘cookie table.’”
      PICTURED: ON HAND FOR COMMUNITY DAY last Saturday at the Southern Park Mall were, from left, Larry Moliterno, chairman of Boardman Township Trustees; Lou Conforti, CEO of Washington Prime Group; and William Leicht, Boardman Township Fiscal Officer.
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