‘Meijer-in-The-Beach’ rumor debunked
October 28, 2013 12:52PM
A Meijer customer loads her vehicle. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: December 1, 2013 7:16AM
Last weekend’s musings in this space about the great deals at the soon-to-shutter Kmart in Round Lake Beach — check out the Crocs before they’re gone — caught the attention of a reader who has heard a rumor about post-Kmart life for the space:
“Unfortunately with this story you have people thinking that closing the Kmart will just leave another gaping hole like the old Walmart and that is not the case,” he wrote via email, adding that the Kmart is closing “because it has been purchased by the Meijer Group to be redeveloped into a Meijer store set to open in August of 2014.”
For the uninitiated, Meijer is your basic megamart in the Super Kmart/Walmart class, with everything from milk and bread to baby bedding and rain barrels under one roof. They’re huge in Michigan and have crept into Illinois, though they have yet to slip into Lake County — the closest one is on Route 31 in McHenry.
The Meijer-in-The-Beach rumor can also be found on Facebook, which means it must be a true rumor. Unfortunately for fans of local economic development, there doesn’t appear to be any fire behind the smoke.
“I can unequivocally tell you that there’s nothing planned for the Kmart site,” said Round Lake Beach Village Administrator David Kilbane on Monday, Oct. 28, adding that “we would be the first to stand on the rooftops shouting” if Meijer or anything else were on the horizon.
According to Kilbane, the last time he spoke with Mid-America Real Estate Corp. about its marketing of the Rollins Road location, there was “absolutely nothing lined up to go in that site.” He added that the building covers 194,000 square feet, and there are “not many people on the market who want to get into a building of that size.”
If and when someone does come forward with a redevelopment bid for the property, they would have to jump through all the municipal hoops that include the public filing of an application with the village’s Plan Commission. Kilbane said nothing like that has occurred.
Any member of the working class who’s lived through liquidation or a round of attrition knows what the Kmart employees are going through as the store winds its way toward closing. For the record, the official date has been pegged as Dec. 15.
Maybe by then — or at any point in the future — a Meijer or something like it actually will step forward with a plan to fill the Big Box.