Another South Campus Gateway store is taking its leave this weekend, a move that surprised its landlord.
Finish Line, an athletic shoe and apparel retail store that opened in 2005 when the Gateway opened, will close permanently Saturday, Dianna Boyce, senior director of corporate communications for Finish Line, said.
“The closing of the Finish Line store at (1624) N. High Street is a part of our normal course of business as we open and close stores based on results and demand in the market,” Boyce said in a Wednesday email.
A manager at the Finish Line Gateway location referred The Lantern to the corporate office for comment.
Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment, said Finish Line’s decision to leave came as somewhat of a surprise.
“They first notified us that they were planning to close this past October, but soon after, we came to a mutual decision that (they would stay) until a new tenant was found,” Hoffsis said Tuesday. “They just notified us this week they would be closing this week with no plans to reopen.”
Campus Partners is a private nonprofit corporation that works on community planning in the OSU campus area alongside OSU and the city of Columbus. South Campus Gateway LLC is a subtenant of Campus Partners.
Hoffsis said the store’s closing “is in compliance with (its) lease terms” because the store had the right to terminate its lease in October, but she said she had no details on when or why it was closing besides that it will be this weekend.
She said the Gateway wanted Finish Line to stay open until a new tenant was found to make it clear the space “wasn’t a long term dark store, it was just a change of tenancy.”
“We have some contracts pending and we thought it would make a cleaner transition,” Hoffsis said. “Obviously we like having (stores) operating in all of these locations.”
Some Ohio State students said they don’t mind that Finish Line is leaving.
“I shopped at Finish Line in the past, just not that one, but I’ve gone in there a couple of times to look around. It’s a good store,” said Nathan Cotton, a second-year in neuroscience. “I haven’t bought a pair of shoes in the store since I’ve been here (though) … I think almost everyone does their shopping online so it won’t affect most of them.”
Finish Line isn’t the only athletic footwear store in the area — Foot Locker has a location at 1614 N. High St. A Foot Locker manager, though, declined to comment Wednesday and referred The Lantern to Foot Locker’s corporate office.
Cotton said those who are looking for shoes can go to Foot Locker. He added that he thinks the property value where Finish Line sits is probably high.
“It’s a really good location,” Cotton said.
Finish Line is the fourth business in the Gateway to close since the beginning of summer 2013.
Charlie Bear: Land of Dance, Gooeyz and Kildare’s Irish Pub, the former two of which announced their leaves via Twitter in November, have all closed their doors.
Gooeyz, a restaurant specializing in grilled cheese, reopened at a different location in Woodland’s Backyard at 668 Grandview Ave.
Charlie Bear, a dance club, relocated to 2885 Olentangy River Road. Its Gateway closure partially had to do with safety concerns.
“There had been several safety issues and security instances over the course of the last couple of years that we had tried to address with Charlie Bear, and certainly their inability to work with us in trying to address those led us to some of our decision,” Hoffsis told The Lantern in November.
Charlie Bear owner Ted Lawson, though, said his reasons for moving from the Gateway didn’t have to do with safety.
“I was told by (Campus Partners) that, in fact, they didn’t want Charlie Bear, because one, they don’t like the image. Two, they didn’t like the type of people I was bringing in,” he told The Lantern in November. “They felt that the image that Charlie Bear was giving the area was not good.”
In early December, shots from two Columbus Division of Police officers left a man dead at Charlie Bear’s Olentangy River Road location after that man was involved in an argument at the club.
Hoffsis said Tuesday Charlie Bear’s Gateway departure was out of the norm.
“With Charlie Bear, I think everyone is aware there (were) a lot of other issues going on with that,” Hoffsis said. “(But) since it’s a fairly new complex, a lot of the leases all come due at the same time … we’ve got a lot of pending negotiations so I think a lot of those vacancies will be flipping over quickly.”
The Gateway opened in fall 2005.
Rachel Schreiber, a second-year in social work, said she went to Kildare’s and Gooeyz while they were open.
“I think that’s weird … that they all closed,” Schreiber said.
Rachel Wainz, a first-year in exploration, said while she hadn’t been to any of the places that have closed or are closing, she doesn’t think it has to do with their business models.
“It’s more of a commentary on the economy in general,” Wainz said.
Hoffsis added the coming contracts should keep the variety in the Gateway.
“We hope to keep a good, healthy mix, I think, just like you would see at other kind of retail centers like this,” she said. “We want this to be kind of a full set of offerings so we’re going to see a little bit of everything I hope in the future.”
Kayla Byler contributed to this article.
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