WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's been decades since droves of shoppers and dozens of stores filled the Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield. But, a new owner is hoping to change that.
Toronto-based developer Zoran Cocov wants to turn the vacant shopping center into a sports, entertainment and activities hub.
"The focus is to cater to the community," Cocov said. "Give them recreational sports activities, but also cater to the tourists who are showing up every year."
The first phase of his plan is already underway. In December, the Niagara International Sports and Entertainment complex (NISE) graced the vacant area. It is a sports club that caters to baseball, softball, volleyball, hockey, and basketball players.
"We've got local baseball and softball teams that are already here," director of sports athletics and events Neal Turvey said. "Then we've got Niagara county volleyball club this year."
NISE moved into the former Sears store and is open on week nights and weekends. Cocov hopes the complex brings traction to the area while development continues.
"This is kind of a bridge project here right now," Turvey said. "Just to have the kids in and have something going on here, so we can start it."
NISE has only been open for 10 weeks and it alright sees an average of 170 kids during the week days and 280 kids on the weekends. NISE is phase one of the larger Summit Mall project, and Cocov says the main attraction will be the two field houses coming to the space in 2020 and 2021.
"We expect it to attract millions," Turvey said.
The field houses will host an array of sports including baseball, volleyball, and soccer.
"This is a long term project and he's committed to it," Turvey said.