Round Lake Beach approves Meijer plan for Mallard Creek shopping center

Round Lake Beach officials have taken a key step in the process to rejuvenate a moribund shopping center with the approval of plans for a Meijer supercenter.

The village board this week unanimously approved a development agreement for a 192,940-square-foot Meijer store and related uses at the Mallard Creek shopping center on Rollins Road just west of Route 83.

“It's a big step,” said Jon Wildenberg, director of economic development.

He said the approved preliminary plans provide a “pretty good idea” of what the final product will look like.

The first store in Lake County for the privately held, Michigan-based Meijer also calls for a garden center, drive-through pharmacy, gas station and convenience store on 21 acres.

The aging center includes vacant stores once occupied by Wal-Mart and Dominick's, which left in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Those spots and the spaces between them will be removed.

“At some point, there will be demolition of structures, properties that need to be transferred to become ultimately the property that Meijer owns and builds on,” Wildenberg said.

That will include the former Wal-Mart, which is owned by the village. A sales tax sharing agreement also is part of the package.

The village and Meijer would split the sales taxes on the first $45 million in sales, and there would be a cap on the total amount the company could receive over the life of the agreement, according to Mayor Richard Hill.

Mallard Creek was built from 1961 to 1972 and rebuilt in the late 1980s. It is in a heavily commercial area but has been idle for several years. Hill said the economy, negotiations with Wal-Mart and the planned Rollins Gateway road project, which began last year and is ongoing, were factors.

Because Mallard Creek is an old center that has to be redeveloped, the project is more expensive than building in an empty field and justifies an incentive, Hill said.

“We're glad to finalize the first phase of this and get the project moving forward,” he said.

The village has been working on the proposal for about a year.

“When the time is right, Meijer would come back with the final plan that should match up with the preliminary approval,” Wildenberg said.

In information previously provided to the village, the company estimated demolition would be this fall or winter. The store opening would be in late 2015.

Information provided to the village called for a 24-hour operation that would employ 200 to 250 people. Meijer representatives could not be reached Friday.

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