Accepting Spring Hill Mall's reality: West Dundee OKs a new TIF district hoping to reinvent it

  • Once a bustling retail center, Spring Hill Mall now sits at about 40% occupancy, according to West Dundee officials.

      Once a bustling retail center, Spring Hill Mall now sits at about 40% occupancy, according to West Dundee officials. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Posted2/7/2023 5:00 AM

With a more realistic view of the future of shopping malls, West Dundee village trustees Monday approved the creation of a new taxing district to help reinvent Spring Hill Mall.

The new tax increment finance district replaces a similar one approved in 2016, when trustees still hoped the mall could survive. But since then, the mall has largely stagnated, key anchors have closed and the village has seen the mall's property value drop from a base value of $7.6 million in 2016 to $2.15 million in 2021.


"When the last TIF was approved, we had one of the largest mall owners in the country in possession of the mall, and there was still hope nationwide that the retail sector could rebound," West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson said. "This time, we have wisely accepted the idea that it will not be a retail destination again."

Rather than holding out hope for a resurrected mall, village officials now see a mixed-use development that would include retail and residential. However, TIF districts rely on incremental increases in property values to help cover redevelopment costs. As property values at Spring Hill Mall have declined since 2016, that TIF was of little use to aid in redevelopment.

"The TIF that was approved is going to be essential to the redevelopment of the mall area," Nelson said after Monday's vote.

"Without it, it's unlikely that positive redevelopment would occur in a reasonable time frame."

According to village documents, West Dundee anticipates the new TIF district will generate enough to support a $72.7 million budget that includes $45 million for demolition and infrastructure costs and $3.5 million for acquisition costs.

In addition to the village's share of the mall, the new TIF district will include property around the mall. The TIF district boundaries extend to Huntley Road to the north, Route 31 to the east and Route 72 to the south. The TIF district also takes in a Jewel grocery store to the west.

The majority of the mall sits within the boundaries of West Dundee. However, a portion of the mall that includes Kohl's and the former Carson Pirie Scott store falls within Carpentersville's boundaries. Last year, Carpentersville trustees adopted a new TIF district to cover its portion of the mall.

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