Galleria becoming furniture mecca

By ALLISON L. SMITH

asmith@nwherald.com

ALGONQUIN - Some cities have a motor mile, their nickname for a strip of competing car dealerships.

Algonquin soon could host the area's first furniture mile, centered at Randall and County Line roads.

Wickes Furniture recently opened at the Algonquin Commons, and Ashley Furniture is under construction just south on Randall Road.

Ethan Allen will open by next summer at the Algonquin Galleria, a 190-acre project across from the Commons. Galleria developer David Bossy said the first phase, 30 acres, was set to break ground by August. Dania, a contemporary furniture retailer, also will make its Galleria debut in 2006, pending village approval, he said.

And with space slated for a few more furniture stores at the Galleria, Algonquin is poised to become a haven for new homeowners and those wanting to update their homes' interior design.

"When people shop for furniture, they appreciate the convenience of all the stores being in one location," Bossy said. "All the stores compete, but they also complement each other."

Bossy said the Galleria is about to finalize a deal with another major furniture retailer, which he would not name. Bossy said the store would relocate from its Crystal Lake location, a possible sign of things to come for local retailers.

Thomasville Furniture closed its Crystal Lake store a few weeks ago, with owner John Donahue saying he had another project in the works.

Donahue could not be reached for an update. But Jamie Collins, Thomasville vice president of sales and marketing, did not deny having plans to build at the Algonquin Galleria.

"At this point, we can't quite make any announcements," he said.

Dania offers mid- and high-end furniture, mostly of European design, and is based in the San Francisco area. Most of its 14 stores are in the Pacific Northwest, as well as three in the Chicago area - Northbrook, Lombard and Orland Park. Another is set to open this fall in Hoffman Estates.

Per Thorsen will be Dania's general manager at the Algonquin Galleria, as he is at Northbrook. Thorsen said he already gets the occasional customer from Crystal Lake, so he sees McHenry and Kane counties as ripe for expansion.

"When I was asked who I'd like to see at the Galleria, I said, 'As many furniture retailers as possible,'" he said. "We'll still keep our advantage because there's nothing like [Dania] in the Algonquin area."

A complete Galleria, which village officials said will take several years, will include much more than the furniture hub. It will have more than 200 homes, and about 1 million square feet of retail space and restaurants.

Bossy said a 2,000-seat Kerasotes movie theater will open in 2007, to complement the Kerasotes theater just north on Randall Road in Lake in the Hills.

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