Elgin company promises to 're-gentrify' Huntley Outlet Center
The struggling 22-year-old Huntley Outlet Center has been bought by an Elgin company vowing to take advantage of its "most desirable location."
Capital Companies purchased the nearly 77-acre property at I-90 and Route 47 for an undisclosed amount last week from Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., which also owns the successful and freshly expanded Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora and the Gurnee Mills Mall.
The 279,000-square-foot center, built in 1994 by The Prime Group, is home to high-profile tenants, such as GAP, Reebok, Eddie Bauer and Banana Republic, yet is more than 50 percent vacant. The center's sales tax revenues are a third of what they were a decade ago, according to the village.
But a relatively new tollway interchange, senior housing mega-complex nearby and overall growth patterns are prompting enthusiasm for the mall from its new owners. The mall's proximity to more than 5,000 homes in Del Webb's Sun City senior living community and Weber's new 750,000-square-foot Global Distribution Center should be a boon, said Rich Turasky, Capital founder and president.
"Everyone knows real estate is all about location ... and having the right team to execute a plan," he said. "The overall economics has certainly given rise to much more activity than we've seen from 2008 up until recently. We have designed a team of both local and national experienced individuals that have a track record of executing."
The company is partnering with Chicago-based The Prime Group and Craig Realty Group, a Newport Beach, California-based development and management firm of upscale factory outlet centers in 12 states.
"Now that Route 47 has been widened along with I‐90 having been expanded all the way to Rockford, and widening well on its way to O'Hare Airport, combined with the new full, four-way exchange at Route 47, this will make this project and its location one of the most desirable location in all of Chicago going forward," Turasky said.
Turasky said while Simon Property Group has deep pockets, he believes there has not been enough local attention on the Huntley mall to make it viable.
"It's one of those situations where sometimes when you are too big some things tend to fall out of focus," he said Turasky, a Lake in the Hills resident who has family members living in Huntley. "It definitely needs what we call a re-gentrification. We don't do business the same way today as we did in 1994. It's happening all over (the suburbs and Chicago) where they are revitalizing a downtown area."
Three new businesses opened at the outlet mall last summer -- Fu Shan Buns Chinese Restaurant in the food court, Gusto's Fun House novelty store, and Darna Furniture.
The mall's sales tax receipts have declined considerably in the past decade of so. In 2003, it generated more than $300,000 total in sales tax receipts, of which 50 percent goes to the village of Huntley because the property lies within a special tax increment financing district. Within 10 years, that number has dipped to roughly $100,000, village officials said.
Turasky said he is impressed with Huntley's "aggressiveness and pro-business development attitude."
Also, the village has issued 8,000 new residential permits in the past 10 years; a $200 million Centegra Hospital opening this summer in town with more than 1,100 employees, he added, should help draw traffic to the mall.