West Dundee trustees are returning to Spring Hill Mall for another shopping trip – this time to buy the former Sears building for $2 million.
Trustees on Monday are expected to approve an ordinance authorizing the purchase. The move comes two weeks after trustees voted to buy the former Macy’s at the mall that straddles both West Dundee and Carpentersville.
With the Sears purchase, only two other property owners remain at the mall – Kohl’s and Kohan Retail Investment Group, which owns the former Carson Pirie Scott building and the interior of the mall.
“We do have an interest in the remainder of the mall, and I hope that we can come to a positive resolution with the Kohan group,” West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson said Wednesday.
Nelson declined to say if the village has made an offer on the mall property. However, Carpentersville officials earlier this month said they were made aware that West Dundee had made an offer to buy it.
A representative for the New York-based Kohan group did not return calls Wednesday.
“We’re often confused as to why people would be actively seeking to enter a place that is in obvious decline. ... The occupancy levels are dropping with no obvious end in sight.”— West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson
“I think we still need to have a deeper discussion with Kohan,” Nelson said. “Having the anchors is a critical step, but it’s still short of where we need to be.”
In announcing the Macy’s purchase earlier this month, Nelson said potential developers have indicated that clearing up property covenants and multiple ownership would aid in the redevelopment of the property.
The 192,000-square-foot Sears building, owned by Transformco, sits on 14 acres at the mall. Like Macy’s, Nelson said, the value is in the land, and he expects the Sears building to be demolished. Both stores closed early in 2020.
“I would see them coming down within the next 12 to 18 months,” Nelson said. “Ideally, we’d be working with the private sector to get that done. But if we’re unable to get a development program together in the short term, I think we would look to take down some of the buildings ourselves.”
While roughly 15% of the mall, including the Carson Pirie Scott and Kohl’s buildings, is in Carpentersville, officials there said they are not interested in buying mall property and intend to continue issuing occupancy permits for mall space in Carpentersville.
West Dundee officials have issued occupancy permits within the last year. But Nelson said tenants should be aware of the potential changes coming to the mall and the mall’s current condition.
“We’re often confused as to why people would be actively seeking to enter a place that is in obvious decline. ... The occupancy levels are dropping with no obvious end in sight,” Nelson said, noting the mall’s current occupancy rates are at about 20% to 25%. “I think most people would come to the conclusion that the trajectory (of the mall) is not good. And it is not a good idea to invest money in a place that is in obvious need of a revamp.”