Wheeling board takes pass on buying Kmart site

  • This is the Kmart property on Dundee Road in Wheeling. The village has backed away from a plan to buy the store, which closed in 2002, and turn it into a retail center.

      This is the Kmart property on Dundee Road in Wheeling. The village has backed away from a plan to buy the store, which closed in 2002, and turn it into a retail center. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
By Nadia Malik
Daily Herald Staff
Published12/3/2008 12:04 AM

The fate of the long-vacant Kmart site in Wheeling is once again up in the air after it looked like it had a buyer.

The village board had been considering buying the property for development - much like it did with the Wickes land last month - but it decided against that Monday.

 

The village had a contract to buy the site, which was selling for $10 million. That contract, agreed to in April, allowed the board time to pull out before paying the full amount.

So far, Wheeling had paid $125,000 for the 9 acres at 780 and 880 Dundee Road.

"It wasn't economically feasible for us to go forward with that," Acting Village President Dean Argiris said Tuesday, pointing to the current state of the economy.

He said the village had been working with HD Partners to do a retail development similar to the Deer Park Town Center.

"With the economics today with retail, it was hard for us to make the investment and purchase the property," Argiris said.

The site has been vacant since 2002; although some developers have been interested, nothing has come through for the area. Argiris said the price is high and the land has some issues, including lack of stormwater storage.

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The village just last month purchased the empty Wickes site at 351 W. Dundee Road for $3.775 million.

That case was different, Argiris said, because Wickes had filed for bankruptcy and the property was available at a bargain price.

The village wants to do a residential component along with retail there, which Argiris said is a bit easier than doing retail alone.

"Everyone's on hold right now and not opening up stores," Argiris said.

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