Could Huntley outlet mall close by next year?
Darna Furniture is the latest store to go bust roughly a year after it opened at the Huntley Outlet Center.
The 22-year-old mall -- purchased in April by an Elgin realty company -- has been struggling for years to keep tenants. It now looks likely the mall might shutter by next year, per the village.
Gap recently closed at the mall and Sweet Repeats, a secondhand housewares/home furnishings store, is returning to its previous location at Algonquin Road and Route 47.
With the owner not renewing any leases, village officials see the writing on the wall.
"Based on where the retail world is going in general and based on some longtime tenants moving out of there, I do believe a re-purposing or redeveloping of the mall is certainly a strong possibility," Huntley Village Manager Dave Johnson said.
The nearly 77-acre property at Interstate 90 and Route 47 was purchased by Huntley Investment Partners LLC -- comprising Elgin's Capital Realty and Development, Chicago-based The Prime Group, which built the center in 1994, and Craig Realty Group, a California-based development and management firm of upscale factory outlet centers in 12 states.
Its previous owner, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., owns the successful and newly expanded Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora and the Gurnee Mills mall, yet wasn't able to draw shoppers to Huntley.
Lake in the Hills resident Rich Turasky, Capital Realty founder and president, sought to take advantage of the mall's desirable location and re-gentrify it. The 279,000-square-foot center still is home to a few high-profile tenants, such as Ann Taylor, Guess, Reebok, Skechers, Eddie Bauer and Banana Republic, yet is more than 50 percent vacant. Its sales tax revenues are one-third what they were a decade ago, village officials said.
Earlier this year, village officials identified more than 300 property maintenance violations at the center while it was still owned by Simon. It could cost the new owner anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per day per violation. That matter is being worked out in court, Johnson said.
"Our intent there is not necessarily to seek fine revenue. It is to obviously address the issues that are out there," he said. "It's at the doorstep to our community. Our expectation is that we will work with the new ownership group to come up with a project that is beneficial to Huntley."