'A long time coming': An eyesore for years, Garden Fresh Plaza in Wheeling demolished

A Wheeling shopping center that long was an eyesore and a safety hazard has been reduced to piles of rubble.

The demolition of the former Garden Fresh Plaza near the northeast corner of Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads was completed this past weekend.

The plaza, which adjoins the Mallard Lake Apartments complex, has stood mostly vacant for years. It once was anchored by a Garden Fresh Market grocery store, but that business left for Buffalo Grove in 2014 and wasn't replaced.

In recent years, several storefronts were entirely covered by large boards. The center's final tenant, Liquor Island, closed in February.

Although the property is privately owned, village officials sought - and received - a demolition order from a judge because of building code violations.

Trustee Mary Krueger said the demolition is "a long time coming." She hopes the site, which is for sale, will be more attractive to a developer with the building gone.

"It's a better way to market the property," Krueger said.

The village board hired Langos Corp. of Barrington Hills to demolish the center. The estimated $38,700 cost will be a lien that will be recouped when the property is sold.

A Clark gas station at the corner is a separate property and won't be razed, officials have said.

  "A long time coming" is how Wheeling village Trustee Mary Krueger described the demolition of the Garden Fresh Plaza near the northeast corner of Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads. Russell Lissau/
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