The just announced planned closing of Oak Lawn’s Kmart may open the property , which also houses Chuck E. Cheese, to a long desired development.
Sears, the parent company of Kmart, announced it will be closing the 95th and Pulaski store. The vacancy may create the last straw for a mixed use development discussed by Oak Lawn’s administration.
Sources within the village of Oak Lawn identified the property as “ripe” for development about a year ago during the Chuck E. Cheese controversy.
Chuck E. Cheese announced previously that it will close its doors in Oak Lawn by the end of the year but an announcement on where the kids’ entertainment restaurant will relocate has not been made. In fact, neighboring Chicago communities have been cool to the idea of a Chuck E. Cheese and virtually every suburb in the area has indicated that they will not allow the restaurant to relocate in their communities.
The development eyed by Oak Lawn officials would reportedly include what is known as mixed use with retail on the bottom floor of a building and residential units on the floors above the first floor. None of the “plans” have been presented to the Board of Trustees or the public and no developer has been named. In all probability, the area would be placed in a new tax increment financing district.
Oak Lawn’s remaining Kmart on 95th and Pulaski Avenue has been targeted for closing this year as the parent company Sears Holding Company struggles with declining sales numbers and increased competition. Previously, this year, the company closed 190 stores and announced Thursday that it would close three more in Illinois and 28 throughout the country.
The company reported a second quarter loss of $2.34 a share and revenue fell 23 percent. While Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert has vowed to turn the company around and invested millions into the company, the numbers appear to be trending the other way.
Sears and Kmart are battling newcomers like Walmart and Amazon, who will now be selling Sears appliances. In addition, younger shoppers purchase many of their goods online and spend less on clothing according to retail analysts. Sears and Kmart have not been very competitive with Amazon and other retailers online.
Sears has gone through $605 million of its $1.5 billion revolving credit due in 2020. The other Illinois stores closing are in Belleville and Elmhurst.