Attention Kmart Shoppers: Village Reaches Settlement With Sears Holdings at Cost of 80 Jobs

Village ends 5-year litigation with Sears Holdings on Kmart property; 111th Street and Cicero Avenue Kmart to close.

in Oak Lawn has been added to the list of stores

No closing date was announced for the store, but Mayor Dave Heilmann said the store would likely close by May 31.

It is the first store in the Southland to be designated for closing since Sears Holdings Corp. announce last year that it would close between 100 and 120 underperforming stores.

which will remain open. A Kmart store typically employs 40 to 80 workers.

Sears Holdings, which posted a $2.4 billion fourth quarter loss on Thursday, also said it would sell off its outlet store division—including a store that recently opened in Tinley Park and a store in Bridgeview—and certain hardware stores. There are standalone Sears Hardware stores in Orland Park and Alsip.

This is the second big box store to close in Oak Lawn since Christmas.

In 2006, Sears Holdings sued the village when the property was included in a TIF district. Sears leased the Kmart parcel from J.C. Penney, which owned the land. That purchase was finalized in November.

I The village has eyed the underperforming corner for a new retail development rivaling Orland Square.

On Friday, the village and Sears Holdings announced a comprehensive agreement to purchase Sears’ leasehold rights, ending the 5-year court battle “in an amicable manner.”

Although up to 80 workers’ jobs will be affected,

Oak Lawn will gain full control of the land parcel also by May 31. The negotiations do not affect Oak Lawn’s but the deal still isn’t completely inked.

“It’s finalized, but the actual dismissal has not happened yet,” Heilmann said, “that’s a 10-minute hearing.”

The mayor said an agreement with the developer is forthcoming in the next 60 days. The village also hopes to obtain a letter of intent from a prospective anchor store over the next two months. Residents won’t see any movement on the site until 2014.

A retailer has already expressed interest in anchoring the prospective developement, but Heilmann said he wasn’t allowed to disclose the prospective retailer.

“I don’t know how many are familiar with the store that’s expressed interest,” the mayor said.

Although up to 80 people’s jobs will be affected at the Cicero Avenue and 110th Street Kmart store, Heilmann said it was all for the best.

“We’ll be making much better use of the property through the development and providing quite a few more jobs.”

Laurey Olson February 28, 2012 at 12:52 AM
sounds like Sheldon is a snob but its weird because he/she doesn't like whole foods.
Dave W. February 28, 2012 at 01:09 AM
K-mart was not, at least openly, talking about closing that store, though they may have been hedging, pending the outcome of this lawsuit...this way it is one less bit of ill-will for them. Realizing that the town will knock down the Kmart building (and probably anything else they can get their eminent domain paws on), it doesn't matter what size a potential anchor store would be, it will built for their needs. Whole Foods is having a hard enough time in Hinsdale, with no real competition in that point of service demographic (price range). (Same with Traders Joe's, by the way, they are doing okay in Orland Park and LaGrange, but again...) HINSDALE! So... Yes, comparatively, Oak Lawn is a LOWER income area...
Sheldon Cooper February 28, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Well, yeah, as pointed out by Dave W. and if you go back and read what I wrote, Southside Dave, I DID qualify calling Oak Lawn a lower income area by use of the word 'comparatively'. The current locations of Whole Food stores ARE higher income than Oak Lawn. It's not a criticism; merely an observation. I don't dislike Whole Foods at all!!! It's just too high priced for ME to do much shopping there!! Ergo, I'd just as soon see something else move in this spot! LOL!!! Pure self-interest!!! Yes, I admit it. I'm a snob. And it's a really tough job too, seeing as I live in Hometown!!!! LOLOLOL!!!!! So hard to look down my nose at others, don't you know, when I live in what's probably the lowest income suburb close to Oak Lawn!!! Still, I do my best, swanking around in my Salvation Army clothes and tooling along the road in my 13 year old car!!!!! Hahahaha!!! Peasants!!! Let them eat cake!!!! Oh, must we have an 'anchor store' and then a bunch of other little things!!!?? What about an IKEA!!!!? Is there enough room for that!!!? I LOVE IKEA!!! But it's so far away!!
Jerry G February 28, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Yep, the food cost a little more at Whole Foods, but just think about all the money you will save on medical bills when you find out you got cancer from eating the foods you buy at the other stores full of pesticides, preservatives, nitrates, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Also, if your worried about the slightly higher cost, buy there stock I've made thousands of dollars on it.
CJM February 28, 2012 at 02:33 PM
While technically correct that Oak Lawn has a lower *median* income than nouveau burbs like Orland or Tinley, calling the village lower income is very misleading, even when qualified with "comparitively". Dig into the figures and you'll see that the % of households with incomes greater than $100K are very close; about 10% for OL, and 12% each for OP and TP. I'd argue that in the past and including the *immediate* present, OL most certainly provides the demographic that patronize places like Trader Joe's. I know many Oak Lawners who have to drive to Orland when they want to shop beyond discount shoe stores and chain fast food. This also applies to residents Evergreen, Beverly, and Burbank. I'd further argue that the reason higher-end retail is overlooking Oak Lawn is because of what the future looks like. OL is in the very beginning phases of racial and social change which has decimated most of the south side of Chicago. Those issues are now spreading into the inner ring southwest burbs. If I were a betting man, I'd say Oak Lawn is going to look very different in the next census. And if I were a high-end business owner, I'd think twice about locating in OL too. It makes me sad and mad, but it's the uncomfortable truth.
Wendy February 28, 2012 at 04:47 PM
CJM- I have heard the opposite of what you are stating about "inner ring" suburbs. With gas prices rising and people moving towards smaller homes, Oak Lawn is the perfect area for families that want affordable housing and easy access to downtown via Metra or the Stevenson. Oak Lawn is changing and becoming more diverse; hopefully this will be for the better! Why not inspire to be more like Oak Park? (Minus the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, but we do have some bungalows.)
CJM February 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Wendy, Oak Lawn is at a crossroads. The village has the transportation-based development footprint in place to go from an inner ring bedroom burb to a lively, sophisticated, and walkable community, but so do many others along the CTA or Metra. Higher end businesses just don't seem interested in Oak Lawn, and appear to be setting up shop a couple stops down the Metra Line in Orland. If people were really that concerned about living closer in, exurbs like Manteno, Frankfort, and Mokena wouldn't have the population explosions they've had. It's purely anecdotal, but I also have the impression that many Oak Lawners don't want the denser type of condo housing generally required for the walkable community lifestyle centers to be successful. Add the racial, social, and economic changes into the mix, and based on history, I just don't see Oak Lawn coming out very well. Think it'll never happen? Sound too extreme? Take a look at Gage Park, Marquette Park, Westlawn, Ashburn, and Scottsdale neighborhoods in Chicago. Take a look at the southern burbs of Dolton, South Holland, Richton Park, Country Club Hills. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I take the more cynical view of integration and diversity that defines such as the period of time between the arrival of the first minority and the departure of the last caucasian.
Wendy February 29, 2012 at 01:34 AM
I would like to think that Oak Lawn can become a walkable community, but I am afraid you are right, CJM. Higher end and even some mid level businesses do not want to open in Oak Lawn. I do think the housing boom caused the explosion in communities like Frankfort and Mokena, and with the economy still not doing well I would like to think people would factor in commutes and gas prices and decide on an inner ring suburb for housing. We can hope that Oak Lawn isn't in a downward spiral.
CJM February 29, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Wendy, I also hope that a downward spiral can be avoided. That's why I said I think Oak Lawn's at a crossroads. Ironically enough, the soft economy may actually have helped to stabilize the village a bit. I know a few Oak Lawners who've contemplated moving to those nouveau riche burbs discussed upthread, but the depressed housing market has held them back. Anyway, they have an opportunity to do something good at 111th & Cicero. I'm very interested to see the mystery retailer revealed as per the cryptic comments by Mr. Heilmann.
Dave W. February 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Crossroads is an interesting choice of words...since it literally is at the crossroads of much on the southside...huge economic engine, dealerships galore, the best library outside of the city in perhaps all of northen Illinois, the water pumping station, etc...Walkability is a HUGE concern now, so much so that it is now an itergrated statistic on our MLS sheets (real estate jargon for information on properties). Many towns that DID explode during the boom are now IMploding because they are SO far away...I have seen entire subdivisions (or PLANNED) subdivsions go unfinished in places like Manteno or Bolingbrook or Romeoville (or a few others) that had Metra virtually to their door...except that the ride downtown, where these dopes still work, is an hour and a half ONE WAY...it seems great, but the houses aren't always built as good as they used to be, especially during the rush of the boom, and without substantial existing infrastructure, the taxes that SEEMED low are soon in excess of $7000 for a slightly larger but not THAT much larger home from this area. No great library, no city water (in some cases), no closeby hospitals, certainly not one with a world class trauma and cancer and children's wing. One grocery store, two gas stations, one big box Hickmart if you are lucky until the area gets built up, at which point, you are back to what you had here, except everyone you ever knew is at the very least 45 minutes away. Heck with walkability, hope for drivabilty.
Dave W. February 29, 2012 at 09:34 PM
CJM, I won't necessarily dispute your take about white flight (of which is what you were bumping around the edges...), but I am forced to wonder, not for the first time: What would happen if all those mopes who HAD to move out the first time somebody that wasn't of their same ethnicity moved in...didn't? Would the scary minority people build a house on top of an existing house? Would they burn a cross on the lawn until they 'established' people moved out so their 'hoodlum' friends (which, of course is ALL they have, in the minds of such 'enlightend' folk) could move in? And of course, they would set up a drug-dealer network tomorrow, right out of the garage, though not for the kids in the neighborhood, because that NEVER happens in the 'good' neighborhoods... Not saying you are wrong , CJM, about the outcome you're concerned about, or casting blame that YOU feel this way...it just made me wonder, again. I deal with these issues almost daily, and it still amazes me how blatant people will be with their racism, their small-mindedness, etc. I LOVE this area, I hope it remains vibrant for a hundred years then only gets even better...but the people who live here now will determine that. If we leave it up to a few people, the vocal minority, in some cases, we will get exactly what we deserve, nothing more, perhaps even less.
CJM March 01, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Dave W, I don't think I was "bumping around the edges" of anything. I wasn't speaking in code; I came right out and said racial, social, and economic changes. You call it white flight. Tomato, to-mahto. It almost seems as though you make fun of people who are concerned about the possible changes coming and dismiss them as racists. ("..scary minority people...hoodlum friends...set up drug-dealer network..") I'm not naive enough to think that racism doesn't exist and that some fears may be irrational, but denying the legitimacy of these concerns with flip comments seem disingenuous to me. I also love Oak Lawn, even though I don't live there anymore. I still have deep ties to the village and keep up with the goings on. The tidal wave of change seems to have Oak Lawn in its path. I'd love to the village buck the trend that has seen most of the south side of the city and the southern suburbs become extensions of the ghetto when they were becoming "diverse". Will it happen? Only time will tell, however, I doubt you will see any higher-end retail coming to the village any time soon. As I said, it makes me sad, but it's the uncomfortable truth.
Diana Kutnar March 04, 2012 at 03:01 AM
YOU ARE SO RIGHT CJM-----There is racial,social and econ changes going on now. I grocery shop in Oak Lawn, bank in Oak Lawn, medical services in Oak Lawn and all other shopping in Tinley and Orland. I moved here in 1967, raised 3 kids, used the schools, private and public, and ALLLLL my shopping was done in this town. Time changes everything. I hope that future businesses azre of quality or else dig up the parking lots and vacant buildings and plant grass and trees.At least we will not be looking at crap. Hey Village of Oak Lawn, wake up ---drive down Cicero north--advertising signs that I cannot read--SO I hope this town can keep up with the $$$$$$$
Dave W. March 22, 2012 at 12:54 AM
CJM, white flight happens because white people panic, nearly always unnecessarily, at the first sign of a 'non-white' moving in. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy from there on, with other white people telling their neighbors 'there goes the neighborhood', and moving out...when this happens, especially rapidly, the property values plummet because of the turnover. Which, in turn, makes more room for the actual 'ghetto' people that the first 'flighters' were freaking out about. In reality, the first of any demographic group to move into a 'white' neighborhood probably makes the same or more money, has the same or better job than the white people living there already, since they are upwardly mobile and trying to better their lives and those of thier children. It is only AFTER the initial wave that the 'lower' class people can move in. Whenever my idiot cousin would bring this up, I would have to remind him, no matter HOW BIG a racist he might be...remember, nobody can build a house ON TOP of yours...if you don't move, and your neighbors don't move, that 'token' minority would remain so for decades. It is telling that even this logic doesn't leak into the mind of a racist. Look at demographic, look at census readings. If all you knew about an area was the raw income numbers, you would never understand why neighborhoods change. It is only because you know the social outlier of racism that pervades our world that we can explain how the change happens.
Dave W. March 22, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Diane, you are part of the reason WHY those businesses do what they do...when you stopped shopping locally, do you think the stores all should have just closed? They didn't think so, and so they marketed to who was left...people from the city that wanted to shop near transportation and with nicer, bigger stores than what they had in the city. Blame capitalism, but don't blame a shop-owner for wanting to feed their kids when you took your business elsewhere. You perpetuate the cycle you yourself are decrying.
Sheldon Cooper March 22, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Ah, the great melting pot!!!! Gotta love Americans' right to be bigots!!!! LOLOL!!!! Or to NOT be bigots!!! The freedom to choose which side we want to take in that issue is what makes this country great. Ehhh, let 'em move. Don't care much for having people like that as my neighbors, anyway!!! Yep!! Let 'em all move where they want -- and let God sort them out, later!!! Besides, they can move, and they can move, and they can move, but the truth of it is, the whites will soon be in the minority!!! Hahahahahaha!!!! They can run, but they can't hide!!! Not forever, anyway!!! The day will come when they will have to live with people of color, etc., whether they like it or not. I am amused when I hear the bigots talk about how horrible this or that has gotten because -- well, YOU know!!!! I take a sort of 'Schadenfreude' delight in their outrage and anger!!! The feelings they are living with are their own punishment for holding the attitudes that they do, in the first place!!!! Oh, yeah. And I'd still like to have a Trader Joe's!!! Either that or an IKEA. (Still don't know if that's feasible.) As to its taking til 2014, well, I have no way of knowing, but I suspect that it has more to do with filling certain people's pockets with money than it does anything else. I'm only basing that on 59 years of watching this crap happen, over and over and over again!!
PD April 12, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I have lived in Oak Lawn with my husband and family for over 46 years. Have loved it here. Now that we are older we would move to a smaller home to down size. We are moving because our house is to large now and have found another town further northwest of us and there are no steps to climb like our home in Oak Lawn, only a couple of steps to get in the house.
Pat F April 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM
PD ?? 7 weeks ago you said you Might move out of Oak Lawn?? Now you Are moving?? Are you trying to tell us your not part of the people running out of OL because of all these previously discussed problems???
zula 5 April 12, 2012 at 04:06 PM
OTB would be great and a few good restaurants that we lack now.
Dave W. April 12, 2012 at 05:04 PM
How many more restaurants do people think the area can support? We already have Longhorn, T.G.I.F.s, Red Lobster, Les Brothers and Oak Lawn Restaurant, Papa Joe's, Palermo's, Petey's Bungalow, Grassano's,Flapjack's, Niko's Breakfast Cafe, Panera Bread, Corner Bakery, the China and numerous faster food places like Smashburger, McDonald's (3), Burger King, LJS and A&W, Little Caeser's, and I'm SURE I'm missing more than a dozen other places. This doesn't include everything in Chicago Ridge Mall, which is literally right across the street from Oak Lawn. Burbank has a few more along Cicero in particular, Alsip, even Hickory HIlls is a few minutes away from most of the town...Wendy's closed, Del Taco closed, Checkers closed, Outback stayed away, as did Pizza Hut. The area is saturated with options. If by 'good' people mean more upscale/expensive, than it is the same point as the stores of the same money-level...they aren't here for a reason. We have a LOT of people in Oak Lawn, we aren't a small sample size. Companies want to make money. If they had research showing they could, they would open (ala Andy's Custard), if not, they won't.
Dave W. April 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM
PD, I KNOW there are homes like the one you describe in Oak Lawn for sale, and I cannot imagine they cost more if not much less than wherever you are moving further northwest. If you want to move out, move someplace you feel is safer, fine...just don't say it was wonderful to be here, but you moved out because you found a house that had no stairs, as if there aren't any in a town you LOVED. Oak Lawn has amazing diversity of housing types. I know, I've been in every one of them at this point.
PD April 12, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Dave W. Just because we bought a house in Oak Lawn 46 years ago doesn't mean we don't want to try another community. We are 78 and 79 years old and we have traveled a lot and right now we're in FL, our six months are up and we're going back to good ole IL. Have a great day, week and rest of your life.
PD April 12, 2012 at 09:12 PM
That's right Pat F. I lived in Jackson, Michigan as a youngster and we lived with black people and they were wonderful. I have no problem with that. I just don't want to live in a blighted area or other areas where there is a ton of crime. Do you? PS I'm not the only PD around.
PD April 12, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I love your comic relief!!!
zula 5 April 12, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I do not see many people moving out of oak lawn because banks are not giving out the money for mortgages. When the banks start lending there will be a flood of people moving to orland or or some other far southwest suburb.
OakLawnGuy April 12, 2012 at 11:57 PM
It's more the down payment required than the banks holding the money, although credit requirements are a lot tighter now. Given the choice of paying 10% in Orland and 10% down in Oak Lawn, economics dictates that there will NOT be a flood of people moving down there. They have about as many foreclosed houses as OL does, as well.
Dave W. April 13, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Here is the reality of people not buying houses. Many people, more than you would think, have the downpayment. Why? Because you only need 3.5% down to go FHA, which is no longer a dirty word for homeshoppers, especially in Chicago, which consistently ranks at the top of FHA-backed purchases (the vast majority of which are not condo, because most associations have idiotic rules against them). Also, a buyer only needs a 640 (in most cases) to qualify, versus 680 or higher with at least 20% down conventional. So, on a $200000 purchase, you need $7000 down, versus $40000. Slight difference, no? Yes. Are you paying a higher interest rate for that lower credit score? Most certainly. Is it insurmountable? Given that rates are still near historic lows, not nearly as much as it once did. So what is the big holdup? Credit scores. Even a 640 isn't as easy to come by these days as some might think. Typically, you either can't believe that because you have terrific credit, or you sadly know EXACTLY what I'm saying, because that is you. Often, it is an issue of one spouse has the good income, but terrible credit, whilst the other has GREAT credit, but little or no income. Unknowing, first-time buyers will naively hope that somehow we can split the baby and take only the good parts, and not put one person on the mortgage, still use their income. Orland, being more expensive in general, requires a higher downpayment, so all things being equal, don't expect that big flood.
OakLawnGuy April 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM
I know about FHA loans, we had one. FHA has tightened up considerably as well, though, just as much as the banks have. There are fewer FHA dollars available and they're going to the best scores. While credit scores certainly have a lot to do with lack of movement, if you walk into a bank charging 3.5 - 4% interest on a 30-year deal and don't have 10-12% to put down, you're at the far back of the line for a mortgage.
Dave W. April 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
OLG, I can't speak for EVERY lender out there, I can only speak to the ones I deal with: Chase, First Mortgage Corp, Private Bank, Harris (more, but the list will get ridiculous); the guidelines are pretty strict, but that works both ways. It is pretty cut and dried; you either qualify or you don't. If you DO, for FHA, you only need 3.5% down, no higher standards. 640, 3.5% down, all day long, no exceptions, no preference. Does your agent or you (the buyer) or maybe even the attorney need to keep in contact with the lender to make sure things are moving along? Yes. Should they be doing that anyway? Yes. Now...will you having a lower downpayment affect your monthly mortgage payment? Yes. Will you having a lower credit score do the same (because your interest rate will go up)? Yes. COULD that make your available loan limit lower? Definetely. Like I said, the strictness goes both ways. However, if you meet those standards, you will get a loan as quick as a 'conventional' person 98% of the time. There are always going to be some lender agents that dawdle, like in any industry, for some reasons better than others. Keep in mind, that FHA loan limits are pretty high, so the vast majority of homes in the area qualify for FHA price-wise. If you are 'in the back of the line', go somewhere else. Mortgage people want to eat too; somebody will get you the loan. Laws are in place to make better certain nothing is hidden. If they had been before, we wouldn't be having this conversation!
Stacy B. February 19, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Agreed. Even another commenter stated that they drive to Orland or Countryside to shop. Chicago Ridge Mall has almost all the same big box stores as Orland. Unless you have a pension for Macy's or JC Penny, you can get the same stuff at Chicago Ridge... yet you drive to Orland and add to its congestion. Why would someone go to 111th & Cicero for that? If they do decide to put anything big box there, it would likely be in their best interest for it to be another type of grocery store. A Whole Foods, or even a Trader Joe's, something that isn't convenient to get to in another area. (seriously, have any of you been to Trader Joe's in Orland? Holy crap the parking lot sucks) Even a Meijer would be a good idea. Especially for people who live in Chicago Ridge and really only have Scary Fairplay or Jewel as options. Just no Wal-Mart.... please no Wal-Mart.


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