Former Carson’s Property Listed For Sale At North Riverside Mall

The former Carson Pirie Scott at North Riverside Park Mall, which has been listed for sale. | File

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 || By Bob Uphues/Riverside-Brookfield Landmark || @maywoodnews 

An 11.5-acre property at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, which includes the retail anchor store that once housed Carson Pirie Scott has been listed for sale.

John Suzuki, the court-appointed receiver of the property, told the Landmark in an email that while the foreclosure case initiated in September 2018, shortly after Carson’s closed its doors, has not yet been resolved, he has hired the firm CBRE as the listing broker for the property.

In addition to the 181,000-square-foot retail building, the property also includes the southern half of the parking lot on the west side of the mall. All three of the mall’s anchor properties – J.C. Penney and the former Sears location – are owned independently of the main shopping center and include about three quarters of the parking lot that surrounds the mall.

Carson Pirie Scott was one of the three original anchors when North Riverside Park Mall opened in 1975. The store closed for good on Aug. 29, 2018 about six months after Carson’s parent company, Bon Ton Stores Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The marketing brochure for the property states that the site’s “ideal for retail anchor, light industrial, fulfillment center, senior living and multifamily.”

There’s no listing price for the property, but the last time it changed hands was in 1998, when it sold for a little more than $14 million.

Because the shopping center’s owner, The Feil Organization, does not own the anchor properties, they are not privy to any negotiations for the property, but officials there have been made aware of various possibilities since Carson’s closed.

Prior to the pandemic, mall management had been made aware of three potential options, two of which would have resulted in the demolition of the Carson’s store and the construction of a new structure. A third proposed redeveloping the existing Carson’s box and leasing it to multiple tenants.

But the ongoing foreclosure suit, combined with the Carson’s bankruptcy and its impact on ownership as well as the COVID-19 pandemic apparently have scuttled any of those possibilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic also doomed a proposal pitched to the village of North Riverside just as shutdowns went into effect in spring 2020 for the construction of two buildings in the east parking lot area owned by The Feil Organization.

According to Brian Lade, regional asset manager for the company, Feil was finalizing a lease deal to bring 24 Hour Fitness to one of the buildings. The other building would have been leased to general retail tenants.

“That [project] was a victim of the pandemic,” Lade said.

The Carson Pirie Scott anchor property at North Riverside Park Mall includes more than the store itself. The 11.5-acre site includes a large area of the west parking lot. | Google Maps

Pandora, JD Sports opening soon

Lade said two new retail tenants would be opening soon inside the North Riverside Park Mall. Pandora, the Danish jewelry retailer specializing in charm bracelets, is under construction in a space on the upper level in one of the center court corner storefronts.

“Pandora has been on our wish list for a long time,” said Lade, who added he expects the store to open sometime in November before the holidays.

Also slated to open later this year, prior to Christmas, is the Manchester, England-based sports fashion retailer JD Sports. The store will be located on the upper level of the mall, across the concourse from Foot Locker, in the space formerly occupied by Rainbow, which is moving to a larger retail space on the lower level near J.C. Penney.

There are also a couple of changes on the way with respect to the mall’s food/drink businesses. The kiosk in the center court of the lower level that housed Starbucks until it closed earlier this year will become a new Gloria Jean’s coffee location.

In the food court, Sarku Japan, a made-to-order teriyaki and sushi business, will occupy one of the walk-up spaces in the food court proper. It’s possible that business could open by the end of 2021, said Lade.

EM Buffet, a sit-down Chinese buffet restaurant just north of the food court entrance doors, will be rebranded as EM Chinese and continue as a sit-down Chinese restaurant. It should open in early 2022.

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