Why Bloomingdale officials are 'optimistic' about Stratford Square Mall

Several restaurants, a housing development and the planned construction of a Woodman's Food Market have Bloomingdale officials feeling optimistic about the future of Stratford Square Mall.

The mall has been struggling after losing three anchor stores since 2014. Most recently, a Carson's department store closed in August because of the bankruptcy sale of the chain's parent company.

Despite the closures, Village President Franco Coladipietro says redevelopment efforts have continued at and around Stratford.

“Right now, I'm very optimistic about what's going on with the mall,” Coladipietro said Monday.

To complement the mall's dining and entertainment experiences, Stratford redeveloped its lower level with a roughly 9,500-square-foot brewery. The business, 25 West Brewery Co., opened last fall.

Meanwhile, an Italian restaurant called Strada Italia recently opened next to the brewery. And a Texas Roadhouse restaurant is being constructed off the mall's ring road near Gary Avenue.

The biggest project coming to the mall is Woodman's plan to demolish a former Macy's location to make room for a stand-alone grocery superstore.

The Macy's space at Stratford has been vacant since the store closed in March 2017. Village officials have been told the mall is planning to finalize the sale of the empty retail space to Woodman's in June.

“We're hoping that construction is going to start this year,” Coladipietro said.

As part of its proposal, Woodman's is going to tear down the Macy's and part of the mall beside it, and then build a 243,000-square-foot store on roughly 19 acres.

The site will feature a 2,300-square-foot car wash and two gas stations — one unattended facility and a fully staffed one with a convenience store and lube center.

The 24-hour grocery store, which won't be attached to the mall, will have a roughly 136,000-square-foot shopping area with sections for a bakery, produce, meat, frozen foods, health and beauty aids, dry goods and a liquor department. The rest of the building will be used for storage.

Coladipietro said he believes the Woodman's will attract new shoppers.

“I think it will be a catalyst to help spur redevelopment of other parts of the mall,” he said.

In the meantime, Coladipietro said it's possible Carson's will reopen a smaller store at Stratford. If the retailer is able to finalize a deal with the mall, the store would occupy just one floor of the former JCPenney location that closed in 2014.

On the south side of the mall property, construction has resumed on a residential development called Springfield Pointe.

The land originally was supposed to be used for retail and commercial development, but village officials allowed houses to be built because the area already has a number of retail businesses.

“We are blessed with a very significant retail base,” Coladipietro said. “But as you look into the future and see the prominence of internet shopping, what was once projected to be a retail expansion isn't going to happen.”

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