Smoothies, shakes, fries and fashion in Glenview

(Crain’s, November 8, 2013) – Four new stores are coming to the Glen Town Center in the northern suburbs, a bright spot for a once troubled shopping complex as it courts buyers.

The new leases, which total nearly 11,700 square feet, bring occupancy of the center’s lender-owned retail space to 90 percent, confirmed S.L. van der Zanden, managing principal and CEO of Chicago-based RE|SOLUTIONS, which manages the Glenview property.

Houston-based Situs Cos. is trying to sell the space, which encompasses nearly 267,000 square feet, after taking ownership through a foreclosure suit filed last year against the center’s developer, an affiliate of San Diego-based OliverMcMillan LLC.

“We lifted the cloud of the delinquency and the foreclosure action and let people know that there is someone here in charge,” Mr. van der Zanden said. “We were ready to do deals, and
they came forward.”

Located on the site of the former Glenview Naval Air Station, the complex also includes a Von Maur, the Regal Glen Stadium 10 cinema and apartments that are owned separately. Including the department store and movie theater, the shopping center is about 96 percent leased, according to Joe Parrott, a senior vice president with Los Angeles-based CBRE
Inc. who handles leasing.

Among the new tenants at the Glen is Houston-based Pinot’s Palette, an upscale wine-and-art franchise that is breaking into the Chicago market, where it will compete with similar concepts like Bottle & Bottega and Arts n Spirits.

Pinot’s, which is also opening a Naperville location, leased 2,500 square feet at the Glen and plans to open the studio in January, said franchisee Mari Sokolowski, who also serves as franchise development director for the company, which has 61 locations open or slated to

Mingle Juice Shop, meanwhile, signed a three-year, 1,180-square-foot lease for its first location, slated to open in March, confirmed Kimberly King, managing partner for the business. The store will target health-conscious consumers, serving fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies and a variety of grab-and-go food items, Ms. King said.

Rounding out the list of new tenants: MOOYAH Burgers Fries & Shakes, a fast-casual burger chain based in Plano, Texas, which leased about 2,000 square feet, and Curragh Traditional Irish Pub, which took 6,000 square feet. Curragh also has locations in Chicago’s Edison Park
neighborhood, Skokie and Holland, Mich.

Additionally, former business partners Stella Chun and Grace Yoon, which ran the Stella + Grace women’s clothing boutique in the center, have closed that business and opened their own stores, which total 2,274 square feet, Mr. van der Zanden said.

The value of the 267,000-square-foot retail portion of the complex plummeted during the recession, when it failed to generate enough income to cover its debt service costs, leading to the default.

Occupancy dropped as low as 84 percent in 2011, according to Mr. van der Zanden.


While the new leases are a positive sign for the center, its tenant mix and location away from main thoroughfares continue to pose a challenge, said Tony Kahan, a partner with KB Real Estate Inc., a Northfield-based retail broker and developer.

“There’s no everyday draw bringing you into the shopping center,” Mr. Kahan said. “You don’t have that Whole Foods anchor . . . that grocery anchor that is going to bring people in from outside the community and inside the community.”

Situs is a so-called special servicer that oversees the property on behalf of investors who own bonds backed by mortgages on a pool of properties, including the Glen.

The company took title to the 267,000-square-foot portion after a foreclosure auction earlier this year, according to property records. A Situs spokeswoman did not return a call.

“OliverMcMillan is glad to hear of new leases at Glen Town Center,” the company said in a statement. “We keep a keen interest in its success as owners of the theater and the Aloft
apartments and as managers of the parking.”

Situs has enlisted Oakbrook Terrace-based Mid-America Real Estate Corp. to sell the 267,000-square-foot portion of the center. The property is being marketed without an asking price. The Von Maur and movie theater are not part of the sale.

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