Uncertainty surrounding the future of Jewel’s parent company, Supervalu, and the economy in general led the owners of Deerbrook Mall to regroup with plans to renovate the Deerfield shopping center.
Gateway Fairview, the owners of the mall, had planned a major overhaul which involved moving Jewel into a new, modern store where Best Buy just closed. Other changes included relocating TJ Maxx to an outdoor location at the north end of the center.
Mall ownership had proposed a partnership with the Village enabling it to recoup a portion of its $26 million redevelopment expenses through property tax incentives and the Village Board of Trustees was working with Gateway Fairview to refine it.
That changed Monday when Mayor Harriet Rosenthal told the Board at its scheduled meeting Deerbrook ownership had withdrawn its offer.
“The combination of financial uncertainty associated with Supervalu’s ownership of Jewel, along with the time interests of present tenants and the overall challenged presented by the economy, caused them to withdraw the request and reassess their strategy,” Rosenthal said.
A story in Friday’s Chicago Tribune quoted sources from Bloomberg News saying Supervalue was being advised to find buyers for all of the company’s stores rather than some of the companies it owns like Jewel Osco.
“Supervalu has been asked to seek a buyer,” a source familiar with the Deerbrook project said. “Much of it has to do with the economy and we are paying the price for it.”
When Gateway Fairview made its public proposal to the Village Board in June, it planned to move TJ Maxx from the mall’s interior to the north end of the project with an outdoor entrance by demolishing the space between the existing Jewel and Back to Bed.
After that work was complete, a new Jewel with the amenities of the newest grocery stores was to be erected in the location just emptied by Best Buy. That is a major reason for the uncertainty.
Though Deerbrook cannot continue its current plan with the uncertainty surrounding Jewel and the economy in general, it intends to be a presence in Deerfield into the future.
“We’ll have to come up with a new plan,” the source familiar with the Deerbrook project said. “We still have a major investment in the project.” The company does not plan to go away and has been happy working with the Deerfield officials.
A large predevelopment investment has already been made by Deerbrook’s owners and it plans to continue its plans to improve the property. It also likes the prospects of a partnership with Deerfield. “We’ve enjoyed working with the Village and look forward to it moving forward,” the source said.
As for Rosenthal and the trustees, they too look forward to Deerbrook’s next move.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with Deerbrook ownership going forward so that it continues to be a sound economic investment for them and an important asset to our Deerfield community, Rosenthal said. “As soon as they make a proposal we’ll look at it.”