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Matteson takes over Lincoln Mall

The entrance Lincoln Mall Matteson. | File Photo

The entrance to the Lincoln Mall in Matteson. | File Photo

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Updated: July 6, 2014 9:52AM



Matteson officials said Wednesday that the village has taken control of Lincoln Mall following a nine-month court fight and is working with a highly regarded commercial real estate firm to find a new owner willing to revive the beleaguered shopping center.

A recent decision by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Condon to transfer ownership of the mall, southeast of the intersection of U.S. 30 and Cicero Avenue,
will give the village more of a say in the mall’s future, Mayor Andre Ashmore said in a news release.

The village in August filed suit, asking the mall be closed to shoppers over a slew of safety, fire and building code violations, and Condon at the time named a receiver to oversee day-to-day operations. He also ordered mall owner Michael Kohan to pay for repairs so the mall could stay open.

Matteson said it is working with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to find a buyer for the mall. That company also is handling leasing for Matteson Plaza, a shopping center at the southwest corner of U.S. 30 and Crawford Avenue in the village.

“We will be able to control the process and work with Jones Lang LaSalle to identify a new owner who is not only willing to invest in the mall but to be a strong partner with our community,” Ashmore said in the news release.

The village said the 700,000-square-foot center has 40 stores, and its remaining anchor tenant, Carson Pirie Scott, has agreed to stay at the mall while efforts proceed to find another buyer.

A decade ago, the future of Lincoln Mall looked bright. A Texas company, Realty America Group, bought the mall in 2003 for $10 million and in April 2004 said it and the village had reached an agreement on an ambitious redevelopment of the property.

Along with attracting new retailers, the $116 million project envisioned bringing a multiscreen movie theater and restaurants to the property.

To help finance the plans, village officials committed to a multimillion-dollar loan and earmarking property tax revenue to help pay for some public improvements. As of January, the village still owed about $1.3 million in principal and interest on the $10 million loan.

A default in 2007 by Realty America on its mortgage brought the redevelopment to a halt, and the company filed for bankruptcy in May 2009.

Two years ago, Sears closed its store at the mall because of uncertainty over the ongoing foreclosure. Sears had relocated its store to the mall from Park Forest Plaza, an open-air retail center that saw its fortunes wane once Lincoln Mall opened in 1973.

A receiver was named at the time of the foreclosure to manage the mall, and a court-ordered sale resulted in the mall being bought for $150,000 in June 2012 by Kohan, who also agreed to pay back property taxes owed.

The mall’s receiver in January said that more than $1 million in property taxes were yet to be paid.



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