Wal-Mart plan not derailed by foreclosure, Mundelein mayor says

A long-awaited but apparently stalled plan to build a new Wal-Mart store on Mundelein's south side won't be derailed by the property owner's foreclosure, Mayor Steve Lentz insisted Monday night.

"They say, 'We still want in there," Lentz told a crowd of 70 residents and village officials during a discussion about local economic development at the town's police station.

Wal-Mart long has said it wants to open a store in the Oak Creek Plaza shopping center, on Route 60 east of Route 45.

In November, the village board approved a controversial tax-sharing deal with the owner of the shopping center, Ron Boorstein. The pact called for the village to give his Oak Creek Plaza operation 50 percent of the sales tax revenue generated by the stores in the shopping center, excluding the proposed Wal-Mart store, for 20 years.

Boorstein had requested the cash in exchange for bringing Wal-Mart - and its enormous employment and sales-tax potential - to town.

He also promised to build a new 20,000-square-foot retail building in the shopping center that would be separate from the Wal-Mart store.

Additionally, Boorstein agreed to give the village most of a nearby 13-acre piece of vacant land that once held a self-storage facility. The land was to be used for rainwater detention.

But Boorstein now is out of the picture, Lentz told the crowd.

The mayor tried to assure the crowd that the retail giant still plans to build a store in town, once Boorstein's foreclosure is resolved.

"We're confident that it will (happen)," Lentz said.

The businesses in Oak Creek Plaza have struggled for years. Menards and Hobby Lobby were anchors, but both moved out.

The most visible tenants are free-standing restaurants near Route 60, including a Pita Inn and a Culver's.

Lentz talked for nearly an hour, and not just about Wal-Mart.

He also announced there are plans to improve an old shopping center on the northwest corner of Route 45 and Hawley Street where a Walgreens drugstore once operated.

A new facade is planned and the parking lot will be repaved, Lentz said. The work could happen this summer.

The owner even has a new tenant for the Walgreens space, Lentz said.

"We don't know who it is," Lentz said. "That's huge news."

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  The businesses in Mundelein's Oak Creek Plaza have struggled for years Steve Lundy/, 2012
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