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Itoman Dai-Ei to close, future use debated

Date Posted: 2002-08-23

With the closing of the Daie-Ei Department Store Itoman Branch the end of August, the local merchants association has called for a debate on what to do with the huge facility once the store is gone.

At a recent meeting of the Itoman City Nishizaki Shopping Center Central Street Association members decided to apply for Itoman City to buy the building and land the shopping center is located.

Nishizaki Shopping Plaza Co. that has expressed its willingness to sell the property currently owns the building and land. City officials are reportedly conducting a survey on the economic impact of the closing of Dai-Ei. They are also said to be drafting proposals on the possible future uses of the property.

Merchants in the area surrounding the shopping center are worried that when the department store goes, customers will also disappear if no other main attraction is found to pull them into the area.

Nishizaki Shopping Plaza officials say that if the city does not buy the property, it will most likely go to the auction block. Central Street Association Chairman Shinkichi Teruya does not think that’s a good idea. “If a private enterprise or person buys the property, the city and the association has very little to say about its future use. If the city buys it, it can be developed into public use facilities, such as cultural spots, exhibition halls and other facilities that attract people to the area,” Teruya says. The main thing is, he maintains, is “not just close and leave it there without any plan.”

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