Palatine mayor says plan in works to revitalize Park Place shopping center
The new owner of a shopping center at Rand and Dundee roads is aggressively seeking business tenants to fill vacant space near where a new public school is proposed, Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said Wednesday in his State of the Village address.
The Park Place shopping center's future was among the business, road construction and other issues Schwantz touched on during the annual speech sponsored by the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce.
He said the owner is looking to revitalize Park Place, adjacent to a Walmart southeast of Rand and Dundee. That's where Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials since 2018 have been mulling whether to take over space for a new elementary school with up to 32 classrooms.
District 15 school board members voted in January to seek another 90-day due diligence period before deciding whether to lease 80,000 square feet at Park Place for a school, with an option to buy the space within seven years.
Park Place has received proposals for The Edge Fitness Club and Urban Air Adventure Park to occupy vacant space near a shuttered Whole Foods that would be part of District 15's school proposal.
"District 15 has got to make their decision based on what makes the most sense for them," Schwantz said. "This center owner is not going to sit and wait, so they're going to continue to move forward."
School board President Lisa Szczupaj, who didn't attend the State of the Village gathering, said district officials are willing to risk losing out on Park Place. She said there is at least one other property where a school could be built to serve the district's northeast area if deemed necessary.
Szczupaj said a consultant will study District 15's capacity and potential boundary realignment "to ensure that any investment in a new facility would not be wasteful, as it appears that Park Place is not the magic bullet that (former Superintendent Scott) Thompson ensured would fix all issues."
Other possibilities on the perimeter of Park Place include a Wendy's or a fast-casual eatery moving into a long-closed Famous Dave's barbecue restaurant off Dundee.
"It's good stuff," Schwantz said. "It's momentum, right? It's kind of the theme today. Keep the momentum going."
Beyond the possible Park Place revitalization, Palatine has had some recent major business openings, Schwantz said. Studio 41 Home Design Showroom on Northwest Highway and a Subaru dealership at Napleton's Automotive Group on Rand Road are among the latest business additions in the village.
As for commuting, Schwantz said the Illinois Department of Transportation this year plans to begin pavement resurfacing and construction of a barrier median on Dundee from Rand to Route 53, with three breaks to allow turns into shopping areas. He said Palatine worked with state officials to eliminate the original plan for a barrier with just one cut.
In addition, a traffic signal will be installed on Dundee east of Rand near the Walmart and Sonic Drive-In.
"That light has been proposed for about the last dozen years," the mayor said. "So, we're finally going to get that light, which will help with the traffic and it will help with some of the pedestrian crossings there."