Old Kmart property drawing possible interest, still won’t be industrial lot

Ever since Kmart in New Lenox closed in 2016, it has garnered interest from buyers to turn it into a truck stop, which is something New Lenox officials have been opposed to.

“We don’t want to be part of that,” Mayor Time Baldermann said. “The issue for a while was Kmart had so many properties closing across the country and we were not getting great communication back from Sears Holdings. Now they have a new broker and he has been on top of it and is responsive.”

Baldermann and the rest of the village board members have continually said that New Lenox will keep its industrial lot on the far west side of town in the Cherry Hill Business Park.

The board wants to make sure that the property is turned into a commercial use.

“I just spoke to the broker and he said he wants to get a feel for what we’re looking for,” Baldermann said. “Those brick and mortar stores are few and far between. If it’s not something like that, we’d be open to some sort of entertainment or some sort of office. We’re open to a lot, just not a truck stop.”

The Kmart property lies on more than 15 acres with the wide parking lot that pushes up against Williamson’s Restaurant and Bar.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody actually takes that building down and builds something new there,” Baldermann said. “There’s a lot of potential for different uses.”

Nothing is set in stone for what it is going to be, but the new broker for Sears Holdings is allowing for New Lenox officials’ wishes to be heard.