Developer plans $10 million, Asian-focused transformation of old Sam's Club in Rolling Meadows

An Aurora developer plans to purchase the shuttered Sam's Club in Rolling Meadows and convert the building into an Asian-focused commercial, restaurant and entertainment center.

Developer Eddie Juling Ni of the Windfall Group has proposed investing more than $10 million into the deserted 129,000-square-foot big box store at 1460-1470 Golf Road and building out space for a trampoline park, golf simulator, food hall and restaurants.

It would mirror a similar concept as Ni's Pacifica Square in Aurora, a one-stop Asian lifestyle center that is a reuse of the former Yorkshire Plaza he purchased in 2018.

A development partnership led by Ni is buying the vacant Sam's Club property for $4.5 million from GRHC LLC, which is associated with Timbercreek Capital, a Toronto-based real estate asset management firm. The Sam's location closed its doors in 2010 after a decade in business.

Called Pacifica on Golf, the structure would be subdivided and leased to multiple tenants. According to plans submitted to city officials, the proposed businesses are:

• Launch Franchising, a trampoline park operator and family entertainment center that would include ninja-style obstacle courses, climbing walls, laser tag, a battle pit, bowling, an arcade and restaurant across 29,500 square feet of the property.

• Enson Market, a 46,000-square-foot supermarket catering to the Asian community.

• Mango Mango, a dessert shop serving blended fruit drinks, teas, cakes and desserts.

• KyuRamen, a Japanese ramen eatery.

• Lao Sze Chuan, which started in Chicago's Chinatown in 1998 and serves traditional Sichuan cuisine.

• A still-to-be-announced hot pot/Korean barbecue restaurant.

• A modern, contemporary food hall of 10 restaurants and a bar.

• A 29,500-square-foot golf simulator that would give golfers the ability to practice indoors in virtually-simulated environment.

• Five other possible occupants that could include a retail store and sushi restaurant.

The developer's proposed $10.1 million renovation includes parceling the old big box; a new facade, glass, doors and utilities; a repaved 800-space parking lot; and a new loading dock in back to eliminate the existing docks from the front street view.

Officials estimate the new development will result in just under 300 new jobs.

The city council this month endorsed the developer's application for a Cook County 7b tax incentive, which would allow the property to be assessed at lower levels over a dozen years. The council also declared the 254,000-square-foot property blighted — a declaration needed in order to get the 7b tax break.

Lawyers for Ni said the purchase is contingent on getting the incentive, and without it, the redevelopment might not happen.

The project is scheduled to be complete at the end of 2023 or start of 2024.

Aurora development takes off as growing hub for Asian businesses

Pacifica on Golf is developer Eddie Ni's proposed entertainment and shopping destination at the former Sam's Club on Golf Road in Rolling Meadows. Courtesy of City of Rolling Meadows
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