DSW Shoes may be coming to River Forest
The former Linens 'n' THings store in River Forest Town Center II may soon house a new 27,000 square foot DSW show warehouse outlet.
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:34PM
A long-vacant store front in River Forest Town Center II, near Lake Street and Harlem Avenue, may soon house a major shoe outlet store.
Village officials confirmed last week that the leasing agent, Mid-America Corp., is negotiating a lease agreement with DSW (Designer Show Warehouse).
The large, 27,000-square-foot storefront in the southwest corner of Town Center II, which once housed a Linens ‘n’ Things store, has been vacant nearly four years.
Linens ‘n’ Things closed in August 2008, as part of a bankruptcy filing as the national economy tanked and the retail market shriveled. There has since been interest in the space, but no serious takers.
Village Administrator Eric Palm said DSW and Mid-America have had little comment on their plans, but that DSW has also applied for construction permits.
“There’s a permit. They’ve submitted plans and specs for a build out,” Palm said. “I’d suspect they wouldn’t be doing that unless they were serious.”
River Forest Village President John Rigas, who said the lease agreement is “pretty much a done deal,” called the development “very exciting.” He called DSW “an excellent tenant that will bring in a lot of sales tax revenue.”
Rigas said he’d seen no request from Mid-America Corp. for use of any of $330,000 in TIF funds set aside by the village two years ago for use as commercial leasing incentive.
The money, from the expired Lake Street TIF District, was set aside to defray lease costs for interested retailers, or to pay for build out expenses.
“We have had no request,” said Rigas of the incentive funding. “Typically, that would be requested before the lease was signed.”
Palm noted that any use of the TIF dollars would have to be formally approved by the village board.
Rigas also said there may be movement on the smaller space north of the DSW site that once housed a Talbots store.
Palm he’s cautiously optimistic about the improving retail environment.
“I think it’s a good sign,” Palm said of the DSW permit application. “Folks are taking an interest in River Forest.”
He said the village intends to foster that interest as much as possible as part of its ongoing economic development effort.
“Our mantra is to try to be as business friendly as possible,” said Palm.