Lake Zurich Sports Authority closing after all
Once thought to have escaped the corporate chopping block, Lake Zurich's Sports Authority is now expected to close, according to the owner of a mall where the store is operating.
John Alan Sfire, a longtime Lake Zurich mall owner, told the Daily Herald on March 7 that bankrupt Sports Authority's announced closure on the southwest corner of Route 22 and Rand Road would not occur because the store had accepted an offer of half-price rent on the 9-year balance of its Village Square Shopping Center lease. Lake Zurich village officials also were informed of the deal.
However, Sfire said Thursday, a trustee involved in Sports Authority's bankruptcy case no longer wanted the store to stay open in Lake Zurich and canceled the deal. Sfire, who said he was surprised by the turn of events, was notified of the agreement's cancellation nearly two weeks ago.
Sfire said he doesn't know how long Sports Authority will continue operating in the 12,000-square-foot space. Sports Authority's California-based spokesman, Steven Goldberg, didn't return a message seeking comment Thursday.
"As long as they stay open, they have to pay rent," Sfire said.
Sports Authority Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last month, released details of a plan to close about 140 stores, including 11 in Illinois. Local stores that were listed in the court filing included Lake Zurich, Schaumburg, Geneva, Lombard and Northbrook.
Headquartered on Ela Road, Sfire's Fidelity Group owns about 20 retail properties in Lake Zurich. Sfire said he already has received inquiries from businesses looking to fill Sports Authority's expected vacancy at Village Square, which has tenants including Trader Joe's, Party City and T.J. Maxx.
"That is a very active shopping center," he said.
Sports Authority Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Foss has said the company will use the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process to streamline and strengthen the business operationally and financially. Plans call for Sports Authority to use a $595 million loan from four financial institutions to operate as it restructures in bankruptcy, according to court papers filed in Wilmington, Delaware.