Bulldozers began tearing down the shuttered Huntley Outlet Center this week, bringing to a close a 23-year saga of the suburbs' first failed outlet mall.
The 279,000-square-foot mall is expected to be demolished by June 15, per a court order after village officials sued the owners to force them to fix code violations or raze the structure.
The nearly 77-acre property at Interstate 90 and Route 47 was purchased in April 2016 by Huntley Investment Partners LLC, which includes Elgin's The Capital Companies LLC; Chicago-based The Prime Group, which built the center in 1994; and Craig Realty Group, a California-based development and management firm of upscale factory outlet centers in 12 states.
Owners are seeking to rezone the property for office, research and industrial use and are soliciting national real estate firms to help market it.
"We've hired a national brokerage team so that we can cast a wide net and maybe land some really good uses for the property," said Richard Turasky, president and founder of Capital Companies. "The development team that owns the property has experience in developing in all the major food groups ... we've built industrial, office, hotels, factory outlet malls."
The Huntley mall closed last spring after operating more than 22 years. A burst pipe in January caused damage to the property leading to safety concerns with the fire suppression system.
Huntley filed a lawsuit against the owners Feb. 14 to address fire and life safety code violations. The court found continued noncompliance at the property was creating a public danger.
The village and property owners entered into a settlement agreement earlier this month to demolish the buildings.
Eight acres of the property was sold to Michigan-based General RV Center, which opened the Huntley location in May 2011. The dealership sells and maintains recreational vehicles, and sells camping and household equipment.
"It's been a few years, but they are doing very well there," Turasky said.
Turasky said he and his business partners are indifferent to ultimately how the site is redeveloped.
"The people that are in the marketplace are saying there is a lot of demand on the industrial side of things," he said. "We want to keep as much of a general zoning as we can. All we are trying to do at the end of the day is build something first class there. There's not that many sites along I-90 that have that kind of access and visibility ... it should lend itself to that type of use."