The owners of North Riverside Park Mall unveiled what was described as a major redevelopment of the former Carson Pirie Scott property on the west side of the mall during a face-to-face meeting involving the mall’s ownership, senior executives and village officials on Feb. 15.

Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti, who attended the meeting along with Mayor Joseph Mengoni, said representatives of The Feil Organization were “putting together an aggressive redevelopment plan of the entire property” and sounded out village officials on what they might support as mall ownership finalizes concepts.

“From what our initial discussions were, it was way larger than an outward renovation,” Scarpiniti said. “They want to modernize the look of the shopping center, but they are talking about a whole different development use, including demolishing the Carson’s building and redeveloping from the ground up.”

Brian Feil, principal and executive vice president/president of leasing of The Feil Organization, was among those representing the company at the meeting with local officials.

The meeting follows on the heels of The Feil Organization’s acquisition in January of the former Carson’s property, an 11.55-acre parcel that includes the 180,000-square-foot retail box and parking lots to the west and southwest of the former Carson’s store. The Feil Organization purchased the property, which had been in foreclosure, for $3,075,000, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Contacted by the Landmark, Feil did not address specific questions about the mall’s future redevelopment in an email through the company’s marketing agency, indicating plans were still being developed.

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.

“The Feil Organization is in the very early stages of determining plans for the site,” said Feil. “We are committed to creating a thorough redevelopment plan that creates long-term value for the shopping center and the surrounding community,”

Scarpiniti said she and the mayor shared feedback that the village board had received from its ad hoc Economic Development Committee, which delivered a report in 2019 envisioning the mall property and neighboring under-utilized retail areas as an entertainment/restaurant district.

She and the mayor also reportedly emphasized  the need for the mall ownership to address storm water issues and aesthetics, especially with regard to the west side of the mall, which abuts a single-family residential area.

It likely will be months before The Feil Organization comes back to the village with a planned development application, which would require public hearings before the North Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission. 

Any zoning relief requested by the Feil Organization would need to be approved by village trustees, following a recommendation by the commission.

“It sounded like Feil would go back and come back to us within a year or so,” Scarpiniti said.

Two concepts that are likely to be part of any redevelopment plan, said Scarpiniti, appear to be the demolition of the Carson’s building and the construction of a mixed-use development, which would include both sales-tax producing commercial uses and residential uses.

Feil reportedly also reportedly gauged the village’s interest in a higher-impact medical use, but Scarpiniti said that sort of use is not in line with the village’s goals for the property.

“The village definitely wants to keep the original intent of the Service Business District,” Scarpiniti said. “We want sales tax-producing businesses outside of just property taxes.”

While the village still prioritizes retail uses, Scarpiniti said the village would be open to mixed-use development on some sort of percentage basis. Asked what sort of residential development Feil is likely contemplating for the west side of the mall, Scarpiniti said it sounded like rental units.

“We expressed the need to look at making sure the [residential] use fits, because it buts up to a residential area, so there’s a smooth transition from use to use,” Scarpiniti said. “We are not in favor of very dense residential development. We’re looking to improve that area aesthetically, with more greenspace and entertainment and restaurant uses, something that would be a good draw for the area.”

Meanwhile, Scarpiniti said The Feil Organization is moving forward with a new application to amend their planned development agreement with the village in order to build two new outlot buildings in the east parking lot, which it owns.

While the company has not submitted a final plan yet, they appear confident it’ll become a reality. The commercial real estate broker CBRE is already marketing one of two proposed buildings, a 4,000-square-foot space as a retail/restaurant opportunity.

The Feil Organization apparently already has a tenant lined up for the larger of the two proposed buildings, which would be located in the parking lot south of Olive Garden. The market materials available on CBRE’s website indicates Discount Tire is “coming soon.”

In early 2020, the mall’s owner had proposed a similar, but more ambitious outlot development in the east parking lot, but that plan fizzled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.