Photo by Joe Boyle
The new Carson’s building at 9700 S. Western Ave., Evergreen Park, will be sharing the parking lot with a series of retail businesses that are scheduled to be built by the end of the summer.
The new Carson’s has been attracting large crowds since it opened in September in Evergreen Park. By the end of the summer, the store will share the location with several other retail shops and restaurants in the area that was once the Evergreen Plaza.
As of New Year’s Eve, several brick structures were standing alongside the new Carson’s at 9700 S. Western Ave. Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton is delighted with the progress so far, acknowledging that construction will slow down during the winter months.
“They are running on time,” said Sexton. “I think most of these buildings will be built by the end of the summer. I can’t wait to see it. “
Sexton and the village administration are pleased with how well the New Carson’s has done in the four months it has been open. Ironically, the old Carson’s building currently shares the same parking lot with the new facility. The old Carson’s is the last remaining shell from the Evergreen Plaza, which was demolished in the fall of 2015.
Demolition of the old Carson’s was due to take place this month, Sexton said. The mayor mentioned that someone has purchased the old Plaza office tower office next to the old Carson’s. He is not sure what, if any, impact it will have on the demolition plans for the old Carson’s building.
The Lorimax Stern Development Company, of Bloomfield Hills. Mich.., is overseeing the project for the new retail shops and restaurants that are being built.
While the old Carson’s is the last retail store that dates back to glory years of The Plaza, Planet Fitness along 95th Street had been in operation since the later years of the iconic shopping center. Applebee’s, an outlet restaurant located near where the old Plaza sign was erected, has also been in operation. The lone traffic that goes into the parking lot along 95th Street is for Planet Fitness and Applebee’s.
The new Carson’s is going to be joined by DSW, Petco, TJ Maxx, Ulta, Rally House, Carter’s Oshkosh, Dressbarn and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
“Dick’s Sporting Goods is scheduled to be built by the end of the summer,” said Sexton. “That would be great. “It’s hard for me to visualize this until it is finished.”
Ample parking is available. Sexton added that a series of restaurants will be built along Western Avenue and they will be sharing the back of the parking lot.
I hope everything is in place this fall,” added Sexton. “I can’t wait to see the paved parking lots, the landscaping, the stores and the restaurants. I want everyone to see the artistry.”
The Evergreen Plaza opened in 1952 as an open-air shopping center developed by Arthur Rubloff. The shopping center grew in popularity and became one of the first enclosed malls in the country in 1966. The mall at its peak in the 1970s had Carson Pirie Scott, Montgomery Ward’s, Woolworth’s, Lytton’s and Walgreens.
While still profitable in the 1980s, the opening of the Chicago Ridge Mall in 1981 and to a degree the expansion of the Orland Park Mall led to the Plaza’s demise. After Montgomery Ward closed in 2001, the Plaza suffered through numerous more vacancies escalated by the recession in 2008. By 2013, The Plaza was virtually closed with the exception of Carson’s and a couple of other businesses.