816 North Business

Long dark Northland center plans summer revival

As a youngster growing up in the Northland, Charles Cuda would head to the Apple Market in the Country Club Shops to buy fresh Italian bread with his grandfather. As a sophomore in high school, he bought his first letterman jacket from a screenprinting and athletic shop there, and he also would call the Pizza Hut there for home deliveries.

So seeing the center go dark about a decade sgo was painful for him and for the community.

Cuda, who owns Opes Commercial Real Estate, a Gladstone-based brokerage and management company, and another Northlander, JoMarie Guastello, an investor and entrepreneur, formed Pauch LLC about five years ago to buy and develop properties in the metro.

They wanted the 27,000-square-foot Country Club Shops and started negotiations in late 2011. A bank owned the property and planned a branch there but in late 2015 the bank sold them the shopping center.

“It was more than an investment for us,” Cuda said. “Sure we want to make money, but it will be a good value-add for the community. Because they lost services and because my grandfather lived in Sherwood and I live in the Northland I don’t want to see a blighted building there.”

Their $2 million-plus redevelopment will include:

▪ Pet-Topia, a locally owned full-line pet store, plans to open in 13,800 square feet of the former Apple Market space on the west end. The owners opened an aquarium shop, Fishtopia, four years ago at 4720 N.E. Vivion Road.

▪ Vivion Liquor Superstore is taking 6,552 square feet on the east end.

▪ Cupcakes Unlimited, a new locally owned cupcake shop, has leased 750 square feet.

Cuda and Guastello also are in negotiations with a Chinese restaurant. Then three spots would still be available — two 1,500-square-foot spaces and one 750-square-foot space. They would like to sign a hair and nail salon and a sandwich shop. A summer opening is planned for the center at 3508 to 3528 N.E. Vivion Road.

“I love it when people say ‘I love what you are doing over there,’ ” Cuda said.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC