UPDATE: According to Bruce Provo, president of The Provo Group that owns and operates The Plaza, Northbrook-based GMX Real Estate Group is under contract to sell, however "the deal is not done yet."
A property long known as a community blight will get a major facelift soon, according to Mayor James Sexton.
Evergreen Park’s mayor said , a company whose core business involves shopping center development, according to its website, is in the process of purchasing 9500 S. Western Ave., and plan to redevelop it.
“To my understanding, you won’t notice The Plaza two years from now,” said Sexton.
The mayor shared the news in .
According to Bruce Provo, president of the Kansas City-based The Provo Group, the company that owns and operates The Plaza, "They've (GMX Real Estate Group) signed contracts, but the sale has not closed." Provo said there are seill many legal and financial processes that the company and the village have to go through.
The 500,000-square-foot property has seen better days, Sexton said, and was a once bustling mall after opening in 1952. At one point, there was a grocery store, huge slide in the middle of the mall, and a movie theater among other features. In 2007, The Plaza survived a Christmas tree fire that shut down a section of the mall for two months. Before the fire, Provo said he and his company were trying to sell The Plaza.
, Chicago Real Estate Daily reported last July. Within a month, Chicago-based RE Solutions was named the court-appointed receiver for The Plaza.
Now, the first enclosed mall in the country stands about 40 percent vacant, but some hope was instilled in
Sexton said he spoke with GMX Real Estate Group, “but we’re kind of at a hold pattern.”
“They do have a contract, but there will be a month and a half before I think there’s any type of official announcement.” The new mall owners are eyeing new retailers, Sexton said.
“We’ll take all the new retailers we can get here.”
Sexton did not say whether the company planned to convert The Plaza into an outdoor mall, like the however, said “it’s all subject to their due diligence, and the retailers they’re going to sign on, so we’ll know more in about 45 to 60 days.”
Calls to GMX Real Estate Group were not returned.
, the sole department store in The Plaza, would stay, Sexton said. “The old buildings may come down. There may be new buildings. There certainly will be new retailers,” he said, “This is something that the people around here have been waiting for, for a long, long time.”
Sexton said he didn’t want to preempt the judge or the system, “but it well looks like it will be done, and there will be a new 500,000 square-foot retail development at The Plaza.” The project will bring in new tax dollars, new sales tax and new buildings, he said.
“It’s a good opportunity, it’s just getting started,” Sexton said.
"I truly wish them well," said Provo, "and I really hope they close."