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Wal-Mart eyeing bigger store in Tinley Park?

Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said Monday village will announce plans next two three weeks for big-box retail development this

Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki said Monday the village will announce plans in the next two to three weeks for a big-box retail development on this property southwest of the intersection of Harlem Avenue and 191st Street. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 11, 2013 6:16AM



Details of a proposed retail development at Harlem Avenue and 191st Street in Tinley Park will be announced in the next two to three weeks, Mayor Ed Zabrocki said Monday.

He said he couldn’t identify the retailer that’s interested in the property at the intersection’s southwest corner, immediately south of the Brookside Marketplace mall, but Zabrocki said the development would be in excess of 200,000 square feet.

“I’m not going into any detail until we make an announcement,” he said.

Five years ago, a Chicago developer shelved plans for a 370,000-square-foot retail center on the property that would have been anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Zabrocki would only say Monday that there is “some interest” in the site by the world’s biggest retailer.

When the earlier retail project, called Prairie View Crossings, was proposed, residents of the nearby Brookside Glen subdivision mounted strong opposition to it, saying, in part, that it would worsen traffic congestion in the area.

In response to residents’ concerns about the proximity of the stores to their homes, the developer moved the planned Wal-Mart farther from homes and proposed a detention pond as a buffer.

The builder didn’t give a reason for pulling the plug on the project in September 2008, but commercial and residential markets were in full swoon then, leading to the collapse of financial markets.

Tinley Park has an agreement with the owner of the 72-acre property, Lincoln-Way High School District 210, that gives the village the option to buy the land. Originally, District 210 envisioned the land as the site of a new high school but ended up building Lincoln-Way North several blocks south on Harlem Avenue.

Unlike the previous project, Zabrocki said the village isn’t working with a developer but is dealing directly with the retailer that’s interested in the site.

“We’re eliminating the developer stage because that adds another layer of cost,” he said.

As for another round of residents’ anger at development of the land, Zabrocki noted that any plans would have to be reviewed and approved by village officials at public meetings.

The mayor said he couldn’t give specifics about whether the village or other taxing bodies, such as school districts, would be offering tax incentives for the project.

“The schools will be getting money once it opens,” Zabrocki said. “The schools will be the biggest gainers from the real estate tax.”

Several residents of Brookside Glen, in emails to the SouthtownStar, said they believe that a Wal-Mart and possible adjacent Sam’s Club — the retailer’s warehouse club — are likely in the works for the property.

One resident, Julie Lewandowski, said additional development “would be extremely disruptive” and result in “traffic, noise and safety issues.”

James and Jennifer Gill said they’ve lived in Brookside Glen for 10 years and, among other concerns, fear a worsening of traffic should more retail space be built.

“The noise alone will be intolerable,” they said in an email. “It is nearly impossible on weekends to get to work on time due to big concerts (at nearby First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre).”



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