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Spurned by the owner, an Illinois town attempts to redevelop its million-sq.-ft mall property

Al Urbanski
The village of Bloomingdale plans to redevelop Stratford Square even if owner Namdar Realty doesn't.

Bloomingdale, Illinois’ Stratford Square Mall has a vacancy rate of 69%. Its owner is doing little to reverse it, so village officials have stepped in to help reinvigorate the 1.3 million-sq.-ft. property.

"We couldn't wait any longer as far as getting things started. It's time that we started looking forward to seeing what we can do," village president Franco Coladipietro told the Daily Herald.

The property was acquired in 2019 by mall reclaimer Namdar Realty Group, but the company has done little to resuscitate the mall with new tenants or attractions.  Stratford Square’s decline began in 2014 when it lost J.C. Penney.  Anchors Carson Pirie Scott, Sears, and Macy’s all departed since then

So Bloomingdale hired Teska Associates, an Illinois-based company that has developed new strategic plans for residential and retail properties in Illinois towns including Evanston, Lockport, and Glencoe.  This week, Teska president Lee Brown gave a presentation to the village board saying that other Illinois malls such as Northbrook Court in Northbrook and Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills were also undergoing transformations.

No Namdar representative was present at the meeting, however, Bloomingdale has been withholding funds from a 1% tax on all purchases made at Stratford Square. It has informed the mall’s owner that it will continue to do so until Namdar steps forward with a redevelopment plan.

"This is a high priority of the board, “ Coladipietro told the Herald. “I think we need to engage at some level some types of different businesses we can attract. That will probably shape how much retail the site can support."

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