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Saks Leaving Downtown Location for Kenwood

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- After close to 30 years in downtown Cincinnati, the Saks Fifth Avenue store is closing its doors.

The good news is Saks will open a bigger and better store that is double the size of the current one.  It's opening at what's currently the rusting eyesore along I-71 that was supposed to be Kenwood Towne Place.  Local 12's Rich Jaffe joins us with the impact of the move downtown.

According to the developer, this is a done deal.

Saks will be leaving by the end of 2015 with an opening in the spring of 2016 at what's being called the Kenwood Collection.

A struggling store down here, Saks will be the anchor tenant for a massive new galleria type development in Kenwood.

While certain types of downtown developments may be booming, big retailers have had a tough time here for years.  That's why after almost three decades, Saks is moving to what started out as Kenwood Towne Place.

Sitting idle for the last few years, Phillips Edison's Strategic Investments took over in July and breathed new life into the troubled project.

President David Birdsall says, "There's a tremendous amount of construction work that's gonna go on. This is gonna be major construction project."

Getting Saks into what's now being called the Kenwood Collection was a key part of the project and it provided the fuel for the rest of the growth.

"It's gonna be a luxury department store anchored two-story galleria mall with 30 or 40 additional co-tenants.  All the existing tenants are staying; Mitchell's, Container store, Crate and Barrel are wonderful tenants we want to keep and God knows they've been through enough. We're real appreciative of them staying. Then we're gonna do 9 stories of class-a office," says Birdsall.

Downtown reaction is clearly mixed to Saks leaving.

Sheila Horstman just spent 600 dollars at the store.

"I'm really upset because I love Saks Fifth Avenue. Cincinnati's not the same town it was 20 years ago there's so much more theater and culture, it's really gonna be a great loss I think."

But on the other hand, the move to Kenwood is all about shoppers like Christie Sheanshang.

Local 12's Rich Jaffe asked her, "Good news bad news, they're gonna move to Kenwood? "

She responded, "Treat news.  I'm so excited about them being closer to home.  Even as a businesswoman, I'm downtown I would spend more money more time up there on the weekends."

Jaffe continued, "What about the loss for downtown though? Significant hit?"

She responded, " I do...I believe so but I also know this store has been flailing a little bit with the loss of traffic so overall I think it will be great for Saks and great for Cincinnati."

Cincinnati city manager Milton Dohoney tells Local 12, "The city remains focused on our retail strategy for the race street corridor with community partners and developers."

While he calls the loss unfortunate he went on to say, "All in all the positive downtown drumbeat continues."

In a prepared statement a spokesperson for Saks said, "The new store will allow it to better serve customers move it closer to existing customers."

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