Business

Village asking Huntley Outlet Center to maintain, find best use for mall property

Shaw Media file photo
A view of the food court at the Huntley Outlet Center on Sept. 23, 2015. The mall's vacancy rate is near 50 percent, and village officials earlier this summer contracted a consultant to study possible redevelopment ideas for the mall.
Shaw Media file photo A view of the food court at the Huntley Outlet Center on Sept. 23, 2015. The mall's vacancy rate is near 50 percent, and village officials earlier this summer contracted a consultant to study possible redevelopment ideas for the mall.

HUNTLEY – Caution signs with the words “slippery” and “trip hazard” written on them line the sidewalks at the Huntley Outlet Center.

Liquidation sale signs hang in the windows of soon-to-be empty stores in the mall, which was sold in April and had been losing tenants for more than a year.

There are only a handful of businesses left, Huntley Village Manager Dave Johnson said, and the mall is expected to be cleared out by early 2017, at the latest. Many of the stores aren’t looking to relocate in the village, he said.

“I think there’s a lot of discussion that needs to take place with the owners yet of the highest and best use for the property,” Johnson said.

The property was bought by Huntley Investment Partners LLC, which consists of California-based Craig Realty Group, Chicago’s Prime Group Inc. and Elgin’s Capital Realty and Development.

Simon Property Group previously owned the parcel that was developed by Prime Group Inc. in 1994.

Although suggestions for the property have been proposed by developers, the village has asked them to go back to the drawing board, Johnson said.

He said he hopes “sooner rather than later” there will be a concept for the property, which is falling into disrepair, that can be discussed at the village board meetings.

“Having that property in its current condition at the front door to our community is far from ideal,” Johnson said of the site that sits at the northeast corner of Route 47 and I-90.

In February 2016, the village filed an ordinance complaint regarding the property, citing concerns including damaged sidewalks and parking lots, rusted light poles, crumbled brick and unmaintained landscaping, according to a document provided by Village Attorney John Cowlin.

“When you get into the issues of public safety, that’s the prime concern for the village, is to make sure that the public is protected,” Cowlin said.

He said the problems will likely be resolved at a hearing in October.

Rich Turasky, president of Capital Companies, LLC, and Lake in the Hills resident, brought together the group of property owners who bought the property in April.

“We’ve met with the village several times to find out from them what they would like to see happen there, so we’re doing a lot of due diligence and investigating a lot of uses that would go well there,” Turasky said.

Previously he has said a hotel or industrial use was considered for the 77-acre property.

There will be a major overhaul of the property, Turasky said, so it wouldn’t work for them to work around the existing tenants.

As for the property maintenance problems, Turasky said, those were passed on by the previous owners, and the on-site property manager is attending to all the needs of the tenants on a daily basis.

“Obviously, some of those code violations there now will be gone,” Turasky said.

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