Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Evergreen Plaza for sale, may be demolished

You have got to be kidding me!!! As much as I would love to see a new vision for Evergreen Plaza something that's been done in the last few years.

There's an Applebee's built right in the parking lot. Office Depot replaced a Walgreen's as an anchor. A vacant storefront is where a Circuit City used to be. Also the mall fell victim to a fire last month. I should also mention that a few years after Montgomery Ward's went out of business, it's replacement was a wholesale retailer.

You know I had a dream one time. The dream being that Marshall Field's (at least before they became Macy's back in 2006) would find a home at the Plaza. As to whether it works is another question, it could because Beverly is a very nice area and it's fairly diverse and home values are pretty good if not high. At the same time the mall attracts people from beyond Beverly and I'm sure there are those who consider Evergreen Plaza ghetto. I should mention that another major retailer, Carson, Pirie, Scott is in the mall currently.

So anyway this story was in today's Crain's...

Evergreen Plaza, which was converted to one of the country’s first enclosed malls in the 1960’s, is up for sale, with a redevelopment or outright demolition widely expected.
Chicago brokerage HI Group LLC is marketing Evergreen Plaza with a $70-million asking price, which would include the acquisition of a 150,000-square-foot office building on one corner of the land, a 30-acre site in southwest suburban Evergreen Park.

The owners, a partnership of a dozen private investors, are willing to consider a variety of alternatives, including a deal in which the current owners would keep a minority stake.

“We need some new ownership and new money to completely redevelop the mall,” says Bruce A. Provo, president of Kansas City, Mo.-based Provo Group Inc., the general partner, which has an equity interest and also manages Evergreen Plaza. “It’s possible that the present owners would retain some interest in the property or they could sell everything outright.”

A number of retail developers have toured Evergreen Plaza quietly since it was put on the market several weeks ago. No offers have been made so far, sources say.

Evergreen Park Mayor James J. Sexton wants the site to remain retail and thinks it should be “something modern and open-air.”

“Maybe it could be an outlet mall, or maybe a big-box power center with a couple of upscale restaurants,” he says. “What would really be nice is to see it change into a lifestyle center. We’d love that.”

Evergreen Plaza, at 95th Street and Western Avenue, across the street from Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, has experienced a series of setbacks in recent years. Longtime anchor Montgomery Ward closed in 2001, and another anchor, Circuit City, went dark three years ago.
It’s estimated that nearly one-third of Evergreen Plaza’s 920,000 gross square feet is vacant. The remaining anchor, Carson Pirie Scott, is doing good business. Mr. Provo declined to provide specifics of Carson’s lease. Most of the rest of the tenants are on short-term leases, leading to the expectation that management has been planning demolition work.
I almost wish I had a few dollars to invest in this mall and impart some form of my vision. I would have no problem if there were to be a radical change in the future. I'd hate to see this place torn down.

They've been doing a lot of work in the past few years. They torn down the two level parking deck in the back of the mall. There was a movie theater there many years ago, that's torn down and I always thought that was a mistake. Perhaps there will be one there again.

As for the upscale restaurants idea. It sounds great but I question whether it would work. They would have to attract an upscale clientele. It's in Beverly but what about the others who may not be so upscale.

This site has one great asset. Accessiblility by public transportation. Especially CTA buses from 95th Street and Western Avenue. So that could surely work to this mall's advantage if there was a new vision for the mall.

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