An outdated, mostly empty shopping center in Round Lake Beach could be revived with a Meijer superstore as the main attraction.
Prominently located on the north side of Rollins Road, just west of Route 83, the Mallard Creek strip center has been moribund the past few years with the exit the two anchors -- Dominick's in 2008 and Walmart in 2009.
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Company representatives on Thursday made an initial presentation to the village planning and zoning commission to redevelop the more than 21-acre site to feature a 192,940-square-foot Meijer supercenter and include a gas station and drive-up pharmacy.
"It's a large project," Village Administrator Dave Kilbane said Friday. "Cleaning up the shopping center in the Rollins Road corridor is a big improvement for the village."
Company representatives were not immediately available Friday but a summary presented to the village says re-use of the site is "ideal," given its location and the current commercial zoning.
Mallard Creek was built from 1961 to 1972 and rebuilt from 1987 to 1990. According to the proposal, a section on the southwest corner of the existing center would remain. However, a detention pond would be relocated and the bulk of the buildings, as well as the pavement and parking lot, would be demolished and replaced with the Meijer store.
Plans call for a 24-hour operation that would employ 200 to 250. Demolition could occur this fall or winter, with the opening of the new center in late 2015, assuming the Rollins Road project is completed on schedule.
The gas station and drive-up are considered special uses by the village and need separate permission. Meijer also is requesting variations from village code for hours of operation, parking, signs and other details.
The public hearing was continued until April 10 to allow the staff to review a traffic study, which was recently submitted, and review other matters. The project is "working its way to the village board," Kilbane said.
The supercenter would be the first Lake County store for Meijer, a privately-held company based in Michigan. The company operates 21 stores in Illinois, most are in the Chicago area, according to its website.
Mallard Creek is part of a concentrated commercial area, and in the midst of what is known as the Rollins Gateway work -- the most complicated and expensive road project undertaken by Lake County.
The knowledge that it has been in the works, and now the actual work itself, have been deterrents to commercial investment in the area, according to village officials.
"We've been saying all along the Gateway project has been suppressing redevelopment," Kilbane said. "There has definitely been more contact to the village for economic development along the corridor," as the project proceeds, he said.
Kilbane estimated the supercenter could generate $500,000 to $700,000 in annual sales tax for the village, and $400,000 to $500,000 in property tax.
When complete, a rebuilt Rollins Road will run beneath the railroad tracks just west of Route 83, which for years has been a source of continued traffic jams. Hainesville Road and the entrance to the shopping center also have been realigned as part of the project.
Construction is expected to be substantially complete by the end of the year, with landscaping and other details to be finished in 2015.