Carpentersville open to new tenants even as West Dundee looks to buy Spring Hill Mall
Carpentersville officials say they won't stand in the way of West Dundee pursuing ownership of Spring Hill Mall, which straddles both communities.
The statement came one day after West Dundee trustees approved an ordinance to purchase the former Macy's building for $1.25 million.
On Tuesday, Carpentersville Village Manager John O'Sullivan said the village was made aware of West Dundee's plans to buy the Macy's building last week. Additionally, the village learned that West Dundee had made an offer to New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, which owns the interior of the mall and the former Carson Pirie Scott building.
O'Sullivan did not have details on the offer or Kohan's response. But he did note it was his understanding that West Dundee's offer to Kohan included purchasing mall space within both village's boundaries.
West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson declined to say if the village had made an offer to Kohan.
"I cannot comment on potential litigation or acquisition," Nelson said Tuesday.
A representative from Kohan could not be reached for comment.
In a written statement released Tuesday evening, Carpentersville said it was "aware of West Dundee's recent efforts to acquire property at Spring Hill Mall."
"We fully respect our neighbor's position," the statement reads, "but at this time Carpentersville does not believe it is in the best interest of our taxpaying residents to invest millions of dollars into owning mall property without an identified development plan that would improve the property.
"The village has been in contact with several developers and will continue to explore an improved use of the space, possibly in conjunction with our neighbors," the statement continued. "However, the village wants a clear path forward with a developer before making a commitment of resources."
Carpentersville trustees briefly discussed the issue at the close of the village board meeting Tuesday night, according to O'Sullivan. They reiterated their position of not wanting to buy distressed mall property. They also clarified that the village should continue to issue occupancy permits to suitable businesses for the portion of the mall that falls within Carpentersville's boundaries.
Earlier Tuesday, O'Sullivan said he did not intend to issue occupancy permits for new businesses wishing to relocate to the mall, noting it would be unfair to do so knowing West Dundee intends to purchase the mall and likely would demolish the building. He said the village has business applications under review from three or four businesses wishing to locate in the smaller storefronts near the Carson Pirie Scott building.
Nelson said West Dundee has tried to work with Carpentersville as it relates to the mall. Carpentersville was invited to take part in a study related to the mall, but did not participate, Nelson said. West Dundee also sought input from Carpentersville in 2017, when they were working with a former mall owner to reformat the shopping center.
"We have made several attempts to engage Carpentersville in discussions about a long-term trajectory for the mall," Nelson said. "We will continue our efforts to try to seek their input on the process. It's worth noting that the mall is in serious decline and that time is not on our side, nor it is on theirs."
West Dundee also has welcomed new tenants to the mall, which sits largely in West Dundee, in the past year. However, Nelson said the village does not wish to entertain plans for businesses that do not fit with the village's vision for the mall. The village, for example, has turned down requests for car storage, bumper cars or paintball in the mall.
Ultimately, West Dundee sees a mixed-use development offering residential, entertainment and some shopping on the mall property or something that looks "less like a sea of asphalt with a building in the middle" and more like a neighborhood, Nelson said.
In a news release announcing the Macy's building purchase, Nelson said one of the hindrances to the mall's redevelopment is the multiple property owners and various covenants on the property. He said he believed the village needed to intervene to help remove some of those roadblocks and "bring simplicity to the process."