Villas at Sandy Creek development at Sandusky Mall soon to welcome first residents

Sometimes, you need a little help.

And thus explains the partnership between the Cafaro Company — the Niles, Ohio-based owner of the Sandusky Mall in Perkins Township — and the Crossroads Group, a company based out of Richfield, Ohio, that focuses on real estate projects. The two entities have come together to create the Villas at Sandy Creek, a soon-to-open residential development that will be part of the mall complex.

“Traditionally, our bread and butter has been in building and managing shopping malls,” says Joe Bell, Cafaro’s director of corporate communications, during a recent phone interview. “We never had a great amount of interest in residential, and so it’s sort of a new field for us. So we have gone out and partnered with people who have a great deal of expertise in that area — people like Crossroads.”

Specifically, Bell points to a similar project begun around the same time at its Spotsylvania Towne Centre in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with a company based in that area. 

As for Villas at Sandy Creek, it is a 126-unit development offering both two-bedroom ranch suites and two-story, two-bedroom townhomes, according to a follow-up email from Bell. The respective sizes and monthly rents: 1,308 square feet, $1,575; and 1,404 square feet, $1,645.

All units “will be decorated with designer finishes,” include a refrigerator, oven, washer and dryer and offer private entrances and attached garages. 

To hear Bell tell it, the project just makes sense.

“We know that there is a symbiotic relationship: If you bring people to a place to shop, they’re going to need a place to stay … if they’re going to be living in the area,” he says. “By the same token, if people are coming to the community and setting down roots and establishing residency, (they) want to be close to where they can get things at retail stores.” 

It also speaks to the need for what is Cafaro’s bread and butter to evolve as the times change. 

“You can’t be the kind of shopping mall you were 30, 40 years ago,” Bell says. “You have to be a community center that really speaks to the needs of people, and one of those needs, of course, is housing.”

The interest, he says, has been strong.

“We already have people signing up, putting their names on lists and getting ready,” Bell says. “I’m told by our construction folks that things are on (track) right now to have people … move in in late June.”

Asked who a Villas at Sandy Creek apartment is right for, Bell says in the email, “We expect that Villas at Sandy Creek will appeal to a few different demographic groups. For example, the Villas may be very attractive to young, single professionals, empty-nest couples and older apartment dwellers who want newly constructed dwellings that are closer to shopping.”