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By Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer

NORTH RANDALL, Ohio — A real estate company with roots in South Africa could turn Randall Park Mall into a mixed-use project that might include light manufacturing and work force training.

Devland Holdings LLC has signed a contract to buy the empty mall, the vacant Dillard’s store, a closed movie theater and parking from owners in North Carolina. The deal, to close in December, does not include the shuttered Sears or Macy’s stores, the Burlington Coat Factory or the PowerSport Institute, a school in the former JCPenney space.

Devland is based in New York, but company principals Neill Bernstein and Terry Brenner originally hail from South Africa. Brenner, an attorney, has been in the United States for several years. Bernstein has more than two decades of development experience in South Africa, Europe and the United States. According to South African newspaper reports, Bernstein’s projects include hotels, offices and a joint venture to develop South African residential and leisure projects with Donald Trump.

So far, Devland is moving methodically in North Randall. Brenner and Bernstein have a vision for the sprawling property, but they still need to conduct a planning study and start talks with potential tenants.

“We’re not guys in suits who are throwing money at the project,” Brenner said Friday. “The idea is to do something that will really lift the fabric of the surrounding area by adopting a broader planning perspective on the whole center.”

Devland does not see a retail-centric future for the mall, which in its heyday housed 200-plus stores in more than 1.5 million square feet. The developer hopes to reopen the movie theater. But the inside of the mall would become a mixed-use project, with an initial focus on light-industrial manufacturing, research and development. The building could house everything from worker training to a service and administrative center to help businesses grow.

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Story Courtesy Of The Plain Dealer

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