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What Should Go Here?

It's time to weigh in on the fate of the Sears/Kmart property at 110th Street and Cicero Avenue?

We’ve watched this commercial property at 110th Street and Cicero Avenue deteriorate for a long time. If you’ve driven through the parking lot lately, it’s like driving on the moon. With the settlement of the Sears Holdings Co. litigation over leasehold rights and the village’s purchase of the property from J.C. Penney, we can finally dream about the kinds of stores and businesses we’d like to see here.

A Big Lots? Cash for Gold? HHGregg? Abercombie and Fitch? Macy's? Anything as long as it isn't a Sears store?

How high should the village aim? Tell us in the comments.

Sheldon Cooper March 07, 2012 at 08:12 PM
No, no, S. DuBois!!! You misunderstand!!!! The 'Woohoo' was in response to what you posted about Oak Lawn meeting the 10 mile criteria!!!! The next comment I made, as to its not being ridiculously expensive was in response to all those who were saying that it was too expensive to suit this area!!! I didn't write my whole post directed at or for you. I'm joining in the general 'conversation' taking place and addressing remarks made by a number of people posting here!!! I assure you that I'm reading all the posts very carefully!!! I'm very interested in the turn the posts have taken and am looking forward to reading everyone's point of view!!!! I don't mind you calling me out if you think I am mistaken!! And I can see why you made that assumption, too!!! But I think the 'eyeglasses' remark was a bit unkind and unnecessary. you made yourself quite clear without adding that!
Sheldon Cooper March 07, 2012 at 08:40 PM
For what it's worth, Trader Joe's website has a 'Location Requests' link that takes you to a short form that is specifically for letting them know where you'd like to see the next store open!!!! They warn you that it might take some time for them to get back to you, but they do send you an acknowledgement Email right away, which reads as follows: Aloha and thank you for your interest in our stores. Emails have been flooding in with suggestions for new store locations in neighborhoods all over the U.S. We love that! Rest assured, every email is read and your recommendation will be passed along to our real estate folks. The best place to find new info concerning which neighborhoods we’ll be in next is the Trader Joe’s Locations page at http://www.traderjoes.com/static/find_a_tjs.asp We hope to see you soon! Mahalo (thanks)
J March 10, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I work in Berwyn and it used to be a pretty nice neighborhood. It's a ghetto now. I have recently watched an influx of people from that area coming to Oak Lawn to spend their free time. Why? Well, it seems we have places that are drawing them to visit. Let's not support any new establishment to continue that trend. I think that a nice outdoor center with an organic grocery co-op , cafe', nice dinner spot, and maybe a Charming Charlies that all work in with a nature area would be great.
OakLawnGuy March 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Charming Charlie's?? Have you been there? It makes Chuck E Cheese look like Spago. What "sort" of people are the businesses attracting? Perhaps the "wrong" race, or ethnic persuasion?
OLMom March 26, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Sweet Tomatoes! We were supposed to get one near 95th & Pulaski 4+yrs ago, what happened? How about a Sonic?! I, too would love Trader Joe's, but I doubt that will happen. Maybe Meijer, but that might be better in Alsip along Cicero, close, but not too close. How about JCPenney. Ulta. Max 'n Erma's. Chick fil A. Red Robin. NO buy gold, loan stores, cell phone stores, fitness, nail salons (so many around). A book store sounds good, so does the indoor pool or other recreation (indoor mini golf), hmmm...Game Works! PLEASE do something soon with this and ALL the unused (eye sore) spots in OL!
carla kaplan March 26, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I say we need another Walgreen's!!! Even though the other one is so close. I checked the 'Locator' on their website and there's only 16 of them within 5 miles from me!!! What about a really good liquor store, more along the lines of Kenwood? It would be interesting to see what would happen if they had some serious competition.
R April 03, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I think an IKEA would be great for this corner! It would save us from going to Bolingbrook and I really think it could generate a lot of revenue for Oak Lawn. Everytime we go to that store, it's always crowded. The space is definitely big enough for this store, and it would bring something unique to Oak Lawn.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Not corporate closings, forced through legal wrangling with Oak Lawn...NO K-marts were slated to be closed in Illinois. (Though they may have not been to distressed to let this one close...)
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 12:49 AM
HONESTLY, as a local real estate agent, I can tell you...while it depends, of course, some questions are more repeated than others...Income levels, how close are schools, how good are the schools, how is crime, is house X a good value, how long will I have to live in it to make my money back...is this (location X) the 'good' side of town...some are less frequent; parks the library, shopping, restaurants. Some will, sadly ask, about the ethnic make-up (and not always the ones you think!), but some things, race, familial status, etc, are off limits. My quote on those things, in fact, is "Even if I could legally tell you, I wouldn't, and even if I wanted to, I couldn't legally do so." I then refer them to the census bureau or zipskinny.com for whatever THEY think is important, so long as they don't tell ME what they use in regard to our search. I work a bit more with buyers and renters, so I come across these types of questions from people who are typically looking to move INTO Oak Lawn, versus maybe move out if they are selling. They are concerned with finding out what kind of town Oak Lawn is, for them, their families, kids, pets, everything.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 12:49 AM
We (Oak Lawn) are competing with every surrounding collar town, as well as some further in, due to Metra access. Our taxes are low to comparable with many neighboring areas (like Evergreen Park, for example, but not only them). Our library is second to none, really. The parks DO say to young couples or families that there is a place for them to raise their children. We have senior services, we have family services, charities, churches of nearly every stripe...We have carnivals and the Fall on the Green. People either know and are attracted by those things, or find out and are pleasantly surprised by them. Every so often, though, I do get asked why we have so many vacant businesses in prime spots, to which I often don't have a great answer. Oddly, empty homes don't bother people as much, probably because they figure it is helping them move here. empty retail is noticeable, though, it seems. Which is why I harp on it. I want those palces filled, but while I don't want another gold exchange, or another currency exchange, and please, NO MORE BANKS...yeesh...I don't know why people have such over the top expectations for chains that barely survive in WIllowbrook (WholeFoods) to move in here with a lower median income. Not that we can never upscale, but those things don't happen in a month or even a year just by adding a store that nobody in the town can afford. It takes gradual steps, attractive infrastructure (good schools, low crime) and time for those results.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 12:54 AM
OLG, might I suggest Food For Less in Burbank or Ultra at 87th and Kedzie for competitve prices, given that you seem willing to travel to Western already...also, by now I'm sure you have heard that Fairplay is coming to 87th and Cicero, which will be another good alternative (same suppliers as Freshline, I believe...).
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 01:04 AM
WAY too close to the one in Bedford Park...they will NEVER do that.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 01:08 AM
I keep saying amusement park...family fun, and ideal at a mostly dead-end retail location...(Literally, if you consider the kitty-corner neighbors...)
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I have to ask...WHAT do you people BUY at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods?! Because of familial eating needs, we shop them both regularly...also shopping at Aldi and Jewel and Ultra and Food for Less and Freshline and basically whoever has the best price on what we need that isn't the 'specialty' item...It EASILY costs double for smaller portions at both. NOW, the QUALITY IS fantastic...but the cost, even WITHOUT driving to bufu and back (with $4.50 gas) is vastly higher. The grape juice IS better...but it is $6 a bottle! One example of MANY. The demographics just are not there for those stores. If they were, they would ALREADY be here. Do you think they don't know Oak Lawn (55,000+ residents) is here? Know why there is an Aldi on 83rd and Cicero, AND by the Hickmart on 71st and Cicero AND at 114th and Cicero AND in Chicago Ridge Mall? Because Aldi, which OWNS Trader Joe's is raking in cash with THAT price point. You really think he is going to UNDERCUT a Trader Joe's by having his OWN store three blocks away? Whole Foods is STRUGGLING in Willowbrook and HINSDALE! They can't make a profit with millionaires, but OAK LAWN is going to support them? Fantasy land, people have great ideas of what to do with the parks and wildlife, really, I like those ideas, even the nicer theater MIGHT have a shot (doubt it, but...). As mentioned, if it was SUCH a great place to build, they would have done it years ago. K-mart was never offeres a buy out, because NOBODY wants it. Yeesh.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Um, '2 buck Chuck' is now $2.99 (or three) buck Chuck...their meat is good, but crazy expensive, unless on super sale... You must NEVER buy anything on sale at the other stores in town or in the area. I can drive ten minutes or less to get to ten good stores with plenty of variety. Twenty five minutes to Willowbrook, 30-35 to Hinsdale, same for Orland or Lagrange. Are you all biking out there, because gas is expensive. If you like the place, great, nothing wrong with that. There are NOT enough people that can afford these stores, I'm sorry. Same for a 'Lettuce Entertain You' restaurant. Gibson's Steak House?! Where are these Oak Lawn people hiding? Longhonr is on the edge of Evergreen Park and it is there for a reason...we can't even get someplace to fill 95th and Cicero, and THAT is a FAR better location, traffic flow wise...
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Yes, OLG, as usual, it is always the 'outside people' causing problems. NOBODY from Oak Lawn has EVER even jaywalked. The only ethnicity that is ever a problem is the white flight people. If they don't fly, nobody else, the ones they 'worry' about won't be able to move in, whether they are the problem or not. Because nobody would EVER shoplift at Trader Joe's, they are magically immune.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 01:50 AM
PEOPLE! There is a REASON why all the places you named from Orland, or Oak Brook, or Hinsdale, or Lagrange are not already here, even WITH this being a TIF. NOBODY wants to build something they know won't do enough business. They KNOW we are here. They KNOW we have locations available. They ALSO know we don't have the INCOME they want to locate here. We are paying the price for how business was done for decades under the old board and mayor. What happened to Outback? Pizza Hut? 'Big names' that were promised to 95th and Cook? At&T opened a phone store?! Well, THAT put us on the map; no. Companies don't come here if they can't make money; they DO come here if they can, regardless of the TIFs. Andy is right that the town should get out of private real estate, since clearly it isn't a forte of the people running the show. We are surrounded by Aldis for a reason; they make money for Aldi. Dominicks tried upscale, remember? The fresh pizza bar, hot foods, bistro feel to it? How did that do, even when the prices were LOWER? So, a place with HIGHER prices will somehow magically do BETTER? There aren't enough food snobs in the area, let alone Oak Lawn to fill these places. Go ahead and be mad at me. I am BAFFLED by what I presume to be otherwise rational adults acting like they have never heard of capitalism or the free market. It isn't my fault we don't all make another $20ooo a year. I know I'd be happy too, but might as well wish for Santa to bring it while you are at it.
Sheldon Cooper April 08, 2012 at 03:08 AM
You sound more than BAFFLED, Dave -- you sound almost apoplectic and more than a little angry yourself. We all have a right to have our own opinions as to what should go here. Referring to the people who hold differing opinions than you do as 'otherwise rational adults' is an unwarranted and pejorative label. You may be right -- and you may be wrong. I think your thinking is skewed when it comes to reasoning why it's not doable to have one or another of some of the aforementioned businesses come to Oak Lawn. Trader Joe's wasn't in Orland Park -- until it was. Just because something isn't already here isn't proof positive that this is an unsuitable location for it. The last time I was at the Orland Park Trader Joe's, they asked for my zip-code. I think the most likely reason for that is that they are interested in seeing just where their customers come from. And that the most likely reason for them to care about THAT is because they're considering what their best options are as concerns locations. If you're comparing Dominick's with Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe's, that's a little bit 'Apples and Oranges.' Comparing them in that fashion is akin to comparing White Castle to Burger King. When you want a White Castle hamburger, a Burger King or a McDonald's is NOT an acceptable substitute. A Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods doesn't have all that much in common with the grocery stores/supermarkets that are already established in this area.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Of course I MIGHT be wrong...except that so far, I have proof, not wishes. You are correct, they DO ask that, at EVERY Trader Joe's. It IS for market research. Guess what, they have done it for years. Guess what else...they don't have one in Oak Lawn. I SHOP THERE TOO! It WOULD be more convenient for ME, ALSO. They don't care! They aren't going to build for fifty people who SAY they would shop there ALL the time. So thank you for making my point on that. As for White Castle and Burger King, trust me, they are all considered the same industry. They all make it because they are slightly different, but it is more apples to pears with them. As for Dominicks versus Trader Joe's...upscale and nice should resound the same with everybody. People just didn't buy the higher priced goods. It is simple and obvious. The market is dictating what stays or goes. (I do have to say that because I watch Big Bang, whenever I read your posts, I hear Jim Parson's voice in my head.) I just can't believe that the people that bother to come and write on here are comepletely blind or unknowing of how economics and free enterprise work. As long as we have unrealistic expectations or ideas for what to do with the empty spaces all over town, we will be disappoiinted with the results, paralyzed by the perceived failure, and stagnated into chasing our tail. Samsung built a company out of crap Tvs into the top of their industry. We don't have to be that bad to be that good, we just have to be smart.
Sheldon Cooper April 08, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Who's 'Jim Parsons?' Again, we each have a right to our own opinion. And deserve respect, no matter what that opinion is. You write as though almost everybody else has an opinion -- but YOU have the 'facts.' If that's what you believe, then that's your opinion and you too, just as all of us, are entitled to hold that opinion. I understand that using the phrase 'guess what' in the context which you do here and ending with 'thank you for making my point for me' are hostile remarks meant to insult and irritate, but there's really no need for that. We can be respectful of one another. You see it your way; I see it mine. We see it very differently and it's clear that nothing that either of us are saying is proving the other person's point at all. White Castle and Burger King are more than just slightly different from each other, even if both are part of the same industry. You can buy a Kia or you can buy a Jaguar. they're both part of the auto industry. But if I'm in the market for one of those two vehicles, It's highly unlikely that I'm in the market for the other. "I just can't believe that the people that bother to come and write on here are comepletely blind or unknowing of how economics and free enterprise work." Again, that's your low opinion, which is fine. But it's expressed as though it is a bonafide fact and a very derogatory one, at that. And I suspect that you think that being 'smart' means seeing it the same way you do.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 06:50 AM
"Who's 'Jim Parsons?'" Nice. If most people are in the market for HAMBURGERS, they most likely consider Burger King AND White Castle, especially in Oak Lawn, since they are down the block from each other. Also, I've done market research for both McDonalds and Burger King; they BOTH consider White Castle direct competition. THIS is what I call 'FACTS', because they are MY opinion, but they are considered recognized, accepted knowledge by people in the industry of which you speak. It IS my opinion that I feel completely biind of how economics work, but my opinion is based upon HOW ECONOMICS ACTUALLY WORK. I've worked in market research before, I'm now in real estate. I'm not just guessing at these things. Also, I had to pass economics to graduate high school twenty plus years ago. Supply and demand didn't change, I checked. You DID make my point, which is why I thanked you. You basically reinforced it again, so thanks, again. KIA and Jaguar ARE typically different buyers...but they are far different than two burger chains that also both serve fries and rings and chicken and fish. FACTS are that none of those stores are here. That is NOT opinion, anyone can look and see that. They haven't even RUMORED to be coming here, ever. Also FACT. EVERYBODY can have an opinion on what should come here. I am merely stating that they AREN'T here for good solid reasons. I see it the logical way, you see what you want. Am I being snarky? Probaby. Is it deserved? In my OPINION, yes.
Dave W. April 08, 2012 at 07:02 AM
I almost missed this..."And I suspect that you think that being 'smart' means seeing it the same way you do." Um, no. In fact, in many instances, I would say quite the opposite. However, the ability to read a book (cause I'm old) or the interweb is obviously available to everyone who posts. WISH for what anyone wants. I want an Outback. I'm not going to get one. Also not getting a Golden Corral, which would rock...I squeezed my eyes super tight and everything for that wish...nothing. It isn't just you, or other people...I WANT stuff too. I ALSO KNOW that it probably won't happen. THAT is rational. IRrational is thinking that if everybody (what, like maybe fifteen people) post here often enough, a major corporation will grant us what we want. I don't 'like' the facts either. Did anyone notice how sway the town had in the 95th and Cook debacle? Still no reason why that street was closed off, creating a traffic clusterbomb EVERYDAY on 52nd. Just wanting things will not change a major company's mind. This isn't a movie (or Tv show). I would be played by a MUCH better looking person than me. I get annoyed because unrealistic talk distracts from our focus. The politicians are already ignoring people's wants all over town. The ONLY thing that passed that anybody wanted was a shorter Halloween curfew? Wow, we are just like Ancient Greece, democracy in action...or it that 'inaction'? I vote for us all paying attention to what comes next. It is our only hope.
J.S. April 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Trader Joe's!!! Please no Wal-mart, as it will drive what little mom and pop stores we have out of business. TRADER JOES!!!
chris April 12, 2012 at 11:01 PM
i agree
chris April 12, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Trader Joe's great choice....it will accommodate Mt Greenwood and Beverly as well...I shop at the one in lagrange too far !!!!
Maureen Hughes June 20, 2012 at 04:27 PM
IKEA! I agree Oak Lawn has more than enough CHEAP-O stores! Let's upgrade.
liljo July 19, 2012 at 01:48 PM
i agree trader joe's i need to be able to get things that i can't find at the usual stores, i love cooking so that would be fantastic and i don't anyone can be more expensive than jewels!
Amanda Bugal- Konstantopoulos August 30, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Please please please trader joes!!!!! It will do very well, I guarantee it!!!
Sheldon Cooper August 30, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Hear, hear!!!!! Trader Joe's!!!!
mitz regan September 08, 2012 at 02:06 PM
OL Old Gal.. I like the idea of Trader Joe's.. and a really nice middle class, table cloth type restaurant. Tired of driving to Orland for restaurants. We have Target's and WalMarts in Crestwood and on 95th. Need some classy places to spruce up the neighborhood

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