While he called negotiations a "work in progress," Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said Tuesday he's optimistic the village will reach a deal with a developer who wants to buy a troubled strip mall on Barrington Road.
"We're getting close," Craig said of talks to sell Hanover Square.
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The Chicago-area developer has experience revitalizing shopping centers, Craig said. He declined to identify the developer and officials will not reveal the potential selling price.
The developer has not pitched formal plans, but has expressed interest in applying for Cook County property tax breaks, an incentive that Craig said he supports.
"Negotiations go back and forth, back and forth," he said. "But I'm optimistic that we'll reach some sort of understanding and sale of the shopping center."
The village bought the vacancy-riddled property for $2.8 million in 2011. Craig said Hanover Park has boosted the value of the roughly 10-acre site with improvements to the mall's roof and utilities. Crews also demolished a shuttered, stand-alone restaurant.
But Craig has long said the village isn't in the business of running shopping centers. Since the purchase, the village has landed only a handful of new tenants, most notably the Education and Work Center.
The Harper College and Elgin Community College facility will officially debut Aug. 21. The 10,000-square-foot space will hold free, general education classes for adults, job training and other services.
The more than 40-year-old shopping center includes 113,740 square feet of leasable space spread across two buildings.
Hoping to jump-start efforts to return the property to the private sector, the village put out a request for proposals more than six months ago, asking developers to get back to them by mid-March with plans to buy and revitalize the site.
Only two developers stepped forward, one of which the village has already rejected.
As for the remaining offer, one issue on the bargaining table focuses on who will pay for a new facade -- a project that could cost an estimated $1.5 million -- for the aging mall, seen by tens of thousands of drivers each day just north of Barrington Road and Lake Street.
"My hope is that the new owners can be a part of that," Craig said. "They can do that in a more cost-effective manner than the municipality."
He also said the developer has lined up a prospective tenant for a "big piece" of the mall.
A Chicago-based retail consultant is working with the village to study the proposal's viability.
"I don't want to lose money selling the center," Craig said.