A new big-box Meijer store and a Floor & Decor hard flooring store are targeted for two locations on the east end of Oakton Street in Skokie, Village Manager Al Rigoni announced Tuesday.
The major development news was delivered by Rigoni to Skokie School District 73.5 trustees, who broke into applause at their meeting, and for a good reason.
Residents in the district pay the highest taxes in Skokie — in large part because the area is one of the sparsest for retail in the village.
District leaders and residents have had to watch other school districts benefit from major development news of late, such as a new Mariano’s upscale grocery store for Touhy Avenue and a dynamic housing project for downtown Skokie. District 68, on the other end of town, has always benefitted from big tax generators such as Westfield Old Orchard and the Optima housing complex.
This was just the kind of development news District 73.5 has been waiting to hear for a long time.
“It’s very exciting for our district,” Superintendent Kate Donegan said. “We don’t know the details yet, but this could lower taxes or at least keep them from escalating.”
Rigoni said both developments will help all of Skokie and called the acquisition of a new Meijer store “a blockbuster deal.”
“This is going to be big not only for District 73.5 but for all of the taxing bodies,” he said. Niles Township High School District 219 and the Skokie Park District among others are likely to benefit greatly as well, he said.
Meijer, which sells an eclectic mix of groceries, clothes and other items, is planned for 3535-3617 Oakton St., property on the south side of Oakton between the Skokie Park District’s Sports Park on the east and CTA-controlled property on the west.
The closest Meijer store is located in Niles.
Plans call for a 156,000 square foot store for property larger than 13 acres. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District controls most of the property and the Skokie Park District controls some as well.
Terraco Real Estate Development and Management acquired the property and already has a letter of intent from Meijer, Rigoni announced.
“The developer had to buy private parcels in the middle and deal with two governmental agencies on either side,” he said.
Rumors about a big-box store coming to the east end of Oakton Street surfaced earlier in the year, but they were not made public during negotiations. Village officials said the first property considered for the project was across the street on Oakton near St. Louis Avenue, but that plan didn’t pan out.
Terraco filed a preliminary site plan this week with the village’s planning department, which the Skokie Review reviewed Wednesday morning. More than 10 acres of the property, according to the site plan, are controlled by either the Park District or the MWRD.
“The really exciting part of this project is that not only are we putting a development on a piece of vacant property, but when you take government properties that are exempt from taxation and put them into a private use, (the tax value) is going to go from zero up,” Rigoni said.
The project, though, still has a long ways to go, including civil engineering work and dealing with the MWRD. Rigoni said he is optimistic plans could come before the Plan Commission before the end of the year, but planning leaders say that nothing more than the preliminary site plan has been presented at this point.
Rigoni estimated that the site will be under development for the next couple years.
Floor & Decor
The Floor & Decor store looks to have a much quicker launch time.
The store will occupy the former building of General Automation, which produced screw machine products for medical equipment and supplies. It closed up shop within the last year.
The 75,000 square foot building is located at 3300 McCormick Blvd. — a primary intersection at McCormick and Oakton. Plans for transforming the building were scheduled to go before the Skokie Appearance Commission this week.
“We’re very excited about this because it’s at a key corner of Oakton and McCormick,” Rigoni said.
The property is controlled by Clark Street Development, which is handling the new Walmart shopping center on Touhy Avenue. Rigoni said the store could open next year.
Floor & Decor has stores in the Palatine and Arlington Heights area, but wanted a store to the east, Rigoni said.
The store labels itself “a leading specialty retailer in the hard surface flooring market, offering the broadest selection of ceramic, stone, tile, wood, and laminate flooring available in the industry.”
It attracts customers nationally and internationally, according to store information.