Drive down the southern stretch of Pearl Road today and you'll see lots of vacancies in the shopping plazas and chunks of undeveloped land.
Two or three years from now, you might not recognize the place.
Pearl Road South is on the verge of blooming into a bustling commercial corridor, with some projects already under way and others expected to follow.
"There's a lot of potential on Pearl Road South," Economic Development Director Brent Painter said. "I think the area is ready to blossom."
A few factors will drive the growth, officials say:
• 's new will draw traffic -- and new development -- to the area.
• Pearl Road will be widened to four and five lanes, which will make access easier.
• The area still has available land for development, as well as existing shopping plazas with vacancies.
"There's a ton of available land there," Painter said.
Owners of the property at Pearl Road and Knowlton Parkway -- a spot directly across from the new Market District -- have already asked the Planning Commission for a lot split in order to develop several commercial parcels.
Leasing is underway at Royal Center, located next to Plaza owner Tony Sheiban, who owns , said earlier this year that the first phase of the Pearl Road widening prevented him from bringing in tenants last year.
So far, Sola Salons has opened in a 5,000-square-foot space there.
Sheiban told Strongsville Patch he supports 's plan to , saying it will help that part of town reclaim its rightful title as the city's business center.
"People don't want to fight all the traffic on Royalton Road," Sheiban said. "The heart of Strongsville is this area."
While other cities have already been built out and are now focus exclusively on redeveloping commercial areas, Strongsville still has several corridors awaiting new construction.
Painter predicted a building boom of sorts, although south Pearl won't look the same as the northern corridor.
"I don't think you'll see a lot of multi-tenant strip centers," Painter said. "We feel it's much more attractive to higher-end tenants."
Construction on the is expected to start next year. Painter said the widening will create better ingress and egress to industrial areas on Foltz Parkway and will also better serve businesses and residents in the area as South Pearl Road develops.
And while the first phase of the project tied up traffic, Painter said he believes this section -- from Ellsworth to the city limits at Boston Road -- won't have the same impact.
This time, motorists from Medina County will feel the pinch as they enter and exit Strongsville.
"The Strongsville traffic shouldn't be affected as much this time," Painter said.