Palatine Plaza filling up again as it marks 60th anniversary
Palatine Plaza is in the middle of a resurgence as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.
It was just three years ago that the 137,200-square-foot center off Northwest Highway was roughly 40 percent vacant, said Charles Margosian Jr. of Highland Management Associates Inc., a Lombard-based firm that owns and operates the plaza and other suburban commercial properties.
"Since then, we've been working hard to source the right tenants for the shopping center ... to bring it back to what it once was," Margosian said.
Palatine Plaza is now headed toward about 90 percent occupancy with two new tenants expected to open there. About 2,800 square feet are to be occupied by Elderwerks, which helps clients find senior housing, while a fitness club is in line to take an 18,000-square-foot section of a former Hobby Lobby.
Byhring's Jewelers, National Tea Co., Powder Puff Salon de Coiffure and Clear City Laundromat were some of Palatine Plaza's original tenants. The first stores began to open in 1959 near Northwest Highway and Hicks Road, according to a Daily Herald report from that year.
Margosian said the mall was less than 50 percent occupied when his father purchased it in 1998. It hit 100 percent occupancy when the Hobby Lobby filled a former Dominick's Finer Foods in 1999, he said, but began tumbling again in 2016 when the arts and crafts retailer departed for Deer Grove Crossing Shopping Center on Dundee Road.
Byhring continues to operate in the plaza and is joined by smaller tenants such as d'Vine Wine and Gifts, JP Wood Martial Arts and Dairy Queen.
Bigger mall spaces are filled by Mutual Ace Hardware, Dollar Tree and Pete and Mac's Pet Resort.
Glenn Nelsen is the current owner of Byhring Jewelers, which he said his great uncle moved from Mount Prospect to Palatine Plaza. The increase in occupancy, a quality tenant mix and good appearance are among the reasons he's confident in the center's future.
"A lot of times, 60-year-old plazas are torn down, pretty much," Nelsen said.
Jan Wood, whose family-owned martial arts school has been at Palatine Plaza for 20 years, said many of the businesses there are locally owned. Wood said she and d'Vine Wine and Gifts owner Roberta Sullivan are part of a "Think Local First" committee for the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce meant to remind residents of the value of trying to keep their consumer spending in the village.
Wood said she believes shoppers will continue to visit Palatine Plaza.
"I think people are becoming more and more aware of the importance (of shopping locally)," said Wood, chairwoman of Palatine's advisory zoning board of appeals. "Yeah, you can click and get something quickly, but again, you can't get that expertise."