Elgin Mall refocuses on move to closed Dominick’s in East Dundee

About 50 of 80 currently Elgin Mall vendors expected to move

Members of the East Dundee planning, zoning and historic commission recommended approval for a special-use permit and zoning that would allow the Elgin Mall to move into a shuttered Dominick's store in East Dundee. East Dundee Village President Jeff Lynam, however, says the proposal would not enhance the village's appeal.

Elgin Mall’s plans to relocate to East Dundee are back on – but with fewer vendors.

Owners of the Elgin Mall on Wednesday confirmed they are going forward with plans to move into a shuttered Dominick’s store near the intersection of Routes 25 and 72 in East Dundee. They anticipate bringing about 50 of the 80 vendors currently at the Elgin Mall and expect to be open in their new location by February 2024.

“We’re excited to see what they bring to the community and fill a storefront that’s been vacant for far too long,” East Dundee Trustee Kathleen Mahony said.

The Elgin Mall, which features dozens of independent Latino-owned shops, is a popular weekend destination that attracts shoppers from throughout the region looking for traditional religious items, Western wear, boots, furniture and other wares.

Last year, vendors learned the building owner in Elgin was ending the lease. Vendors formed a new ownership group and focused on the former Dominick’s store in East Dundee for their new home.

Though East Dundee trustees backed the proposal in February, Village President Jeff Lynam vetoed the board’s approval, leaving the mall in limbo.

“After the elections, they said, ‘We’re here to help you, and we want to move forward with your plans.’ That made us feel more comfortable and more confident.”

—  Rosa Leal, one of the owners of Elgin Mall Corp.

Despite a contentious Village Board meeting in March, the board successfully voted to override Lynam’s veto – clearing the way for the mall’s relocation. Some residents at that meeting threatened to vote out trustees who backed the mall. Another resident referred to the mall as a “three-ring circus” and suggested it would bring illegal immigrants.

Afterward, representatives for Elgin Mall said they were unsure if they would proceed with the move, saying the meeting left them feeling unwelcome in East Dundee. The mall began exploring other options, including a move to the former Carson Pirie Scott store at Spring Hill Mall.

But the successful reelection of trustees who backed the mall and village support helped bring the mall owner’s focus back to East Dundee.

“A lot of the trustees reached out to me personally to show their support,” said Rosa Leal, one of the owners of Elgin Mall Corp. “After the elections, they said, ‘We’re here to help you, and we want to move forward with your plans.’ That made us feel more comfortable and more confident.”

She added that the former Dominick’s store is similar in size to the current Elgin Mall location and is on one level, unlike the larger Carson’s store that offers two floors. Additionally, food vendors from the Elgin Mall can move to the former Dominick’s site. But they could not move into the former Carson’s store.

That’s not to say the turmoil of the past month didn’t affect the mall.

A smaller group of vendors splintered from Elgin Mall Corp. and are believed to be looking to move into the Spring Hill Mall, Leal said. Carpentersville officials are reviewing applications from eight Elgin Mall vendors wishing to lease space at Spring Hill Mall.

Vendors who sign on to relocate to the former Dominick’s store will be allowed to stay at the Elgin Mall – located at 308 McLean Blvd. in Elgin – until the new location in East Dundee is complete, Leal said. Those who do not sign on to relocate with the rest of the group will have until mid-June to move out.

Leal said she and other representatives for Elgin Mall have been meeting with vendors to discuss the move.

She is unsure how many vendors have joined the splinter group. Still, Leal says she expects about 50 vendors to move to East Dundee. Meanwhile, she said, other vendors have expressed an interest in joining them at their new location.

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