Sexton fired up to get Plaza conversion rolling

  • Written by Bob Rakow


A commercial developer’s plans to acquire the Plaza andPAGE-5-2-col-plazaEvergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton want to see changes to the old Plaza as soon as possible. Photo by Jeff Vorva. build a build a new mall on the site will happen sooner rather than later, Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton said.
“I’m not going to wait until summer,” Sexton said Tuesday. “Summer’s upon us.”
Evergreen Park trustees last week discussed the possibility of using powers of eminent domain to acquire the mall and the remaining businesses: Carson Pierre Scott and Planet Fitness.
Sexton said DeBartolo Development, the company that plans to convert the Plaza into a “lifestyle center,” is in negotiations with Carson’s to acquire the store lease.
Carson’s has indicated that it wants to stay at the redeveloped mall, Sexton said.
“The bottom line is to get the developer and Carson’s close on a deal,” Sexton said. “Everybody is slow to make a deal. We’re closer.”
Planet Fitness, which currently is located at the north end of the mall along 95th Street, also has indicated it wants to stay at redeveloped version of the mall.
Representatives from the fitness center attended the April 7 village board meeting to question the village’s

potential plans for acquiring the mall.
Sexton said it’s unlikely the village will have to rely on eminent domain to acquire the leases of the remaining businesses.
“I’m hoping to we don’t even get there,” he said.
He said he’s confident a deal will be brokered with Planet Fitness at the new mall but not at the current location, which should be reserved for retail.
“You don’t have to have exposure at a fitness club,” he said.
DeBartolo Development wants to demolish the mall and replace it with a “lifestyle center.” The development firm is owned by former San Francisco 49ers’ owner Eddie DeBartolo.
The 61-year-old shopping mall, formerly the Evergreen Plaza, has been in foreclosure since 2011. The property is currently in receivership.
The mall was conceived by developer Arthur Rubloff in the 1936 and opened in August 1952 as an open-air shopping center. Carson’s anchored the mall along with the Fair Store, Lytton’s and Walgreens. The mall also features a Jewel supermarket. The entire mall was enclosed in 1966.