MATTESON | The village is looking for a company willing to buy the Lincoln Mall shopping center and make needed repairs to revitalize it into an economically sound retail business.
Village officials released a statement Wednesday saying they had reached an agreement with Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate developer, who will help the village to find a buyer for the Lincoln Mall property on the southeast corner of Lincoln Highway and Cicero Avenue.
Village officials said the process to find a new owner for Lincoln Mall property will include issuing a Request for Qualifications next month which would let prospective buyers know what is expected of them if they pursue the purchase.
Also, village officials are developing a master plan this summer to determine how they’d like to see the 60-acre, 700,000-square-foot property to be used by a future owner.
“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,” Village President Andre Ashmore said in a prepared statement.
The shopping mall dates to the early 1970s and once had major retailers like Sears, Montgomery Wards and Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. as its anchors. Now, it only retains Carsons as an anchor, and has just over 40 of its 100 storefronts occupied.
The mall’s fate became a court case in August 2013 when the village sued the property’s owner, saying the shopping mall had sustained serious deterioration throughout with assorted fire, safety and health code violations, and the owner was neglecting the structure.
In recent months, Judge Thomas J. Condon had appointed the firm Collateral Trust as a receiver to oversee the beginning of repairs, while also requiring New York real estate developer Michael Kohan to deposit money in a fund to help pay for the repairs.
Kohan’s attorneys said during various court hearings in recent months they did not have such money to make the repairs. That led to a ruling by Condon last month that turned over ownership of Lincoln Mall to Matteson village government.
Attorney Michael Aschenbrenner was unavailable Wednesday to comment for Kohan about the property transfer. But Ashmore said he was pleased with the judge’s actions.
“We haved spent years trying to work with the mall’s owner, in hopes that it could be revitalized and once again serve as a south suburban retail destination,” he said.