Randhurst to weather Borders closing

Mount Prospect Mayor Irvana Wilks is going to miss more than the sales tax revenue when her Borders closes.

“The lattes were excellent,” said Wilks about the store that opened five or six years ago at Kensington and Elmhurst roads. “Many times I would stop in on a Saturday afternoon. The parking lot was always full. It was a real gathering spot for our community.”

Borders filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday and said it will close about 200 of its 642 stores over the next few weeks. Mount Prospect's is one of them.

The news about Borders is the one setback for Randhurst Village, the regional shopping center undergoing a complete transformation and where otherwise the news is good: New stores and restaurants will open soon and AMC is expecting to open its new theaters in April.

Besides Mount Prospect, Borders stores will close in Crystal Lake, St. Charles, McHenry, Bolingbrook, Deerfield, Evanston and Norridge. Other closings are in DeKalb, Normal, south suburban Matteson and five in Chicago. Borders operates 50 stores in Illinois; 13 in the suburbs.

Schaumburg's Borders will remain open.

The decision to close one store over another was easy for the company, said John Melaniphy, who analyzes retail and shopping trends with John Melaniphy & Associates in Chicago.

“It's about money and sales and that's it,” said Melaniphy, who has been following Border's decline. “When it comes to bankruptcy, the stores that are profitable stay open. The ones that aren't close. It's simple.”

So far Wilks hasn't heard from any developer interested in Borders' site, but she's not worried. If Mount Prospect ever had to deal with a large empty storefront, now is the time, she said.

“Randhurst is going through this redevelopment and it's a very visible spot,” Wilks said. “Someone will see that as a great opportunity.”

Borders' end-of-business sales will begin this weekend and the Mount Prospect store will close by the end of April at the latest, said Mary Davis, a Borders spokeswoman.

“If items are sold more quickly, the store will close sooner,” she added.

Meanwhile, Randhurst Village is forging ahead. The Asian restaurant Pei Wei will open in a week or so, followed by the opening of the AMC Randhurst 12 this April. Smaller shops and restaurants will host openings of their own this summer.

Jim Conroy, the director of development for Casto, which is building Randhurst Village, said Charming Charlie, a women's fashion accessory boutique, has signed on. Carter's, a children's clothing store, will open in June or July.

Other tenants include Billy Goat Tavern, Tony Sacco's Pizza and Subway restaurants. PNC Bank is now open.

Sports Authority and Carson Pirie Scott are now open, along with Bed, Bath and Beyond; Costco; Home Depot; Jewel and Old Navy.

AMC Randhurst 12 will feature state-of-the-art digital projection, 3D screens and live broadcast capabilities when it opens in April.

This fall, PetSmart will open in what is now the current AMC multiplex. A Hampton Inn and Suites is due to open in late summer.

To help pay for Randhurst's redevelopment, the village of Mount Prospect agreed to a $25 million aid package that increased the local hotel tax from 3 to 6 percent.

It also added a quarter-percentage point “business district retailer's occupation” tax for Randhurst occupants; added a 25-cent amusement tax for movie ticket sales; and required all local food and beverage taxes generated by the site to go back into the redevelopment fund.

The project's estimated cost has been raised from $150 million to $200 million, while a contemplated residential component was eliminated.

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