Bloomingdale is refusing to give the owner of Stratford Square Mall money from a 1% sales tax on all purchases at the shopping center.
Village officials say Namdar Realty Group won’t receive monthly payments from the business district where the sales tax is collected until tangible improvements are made to the struggling mall.
“In order for this public-private partnership to work, we need to know what the plans are,” Mayor Franco Coladipietro said. “I have no assurance of when this is going to happen or what is going to happen.”
Stratford was ailing long before shopping centers throughout Illinois were affected by COVID-19 restrictions. There have been a growing number of stores closing inside the mall at the southeast corner of Gary Avenue and Schick Road.
Stratford’s previous owner — StreetMac LLC — was planning to spend more than $42 million to improve the mall. The company was hoping to attract new retail, entertainment and restaurants to fill the empty spaces.
To recoup some of its investment, StreetMac was receiving payments from the Stratford Business District, which is the area where the extra 1% sales tax is collected.
But in October 2019, the mall was acquired by Namdar Realty — a commercial real estate investment firm based in Long Island, New York.
Namdar Realty has asked the village to transfer the monthly payments to its company. But Bloomingdale officials say they won’t approve the transfer until the village receives a plan from Namdar. To date, the total amount is roughly $386,000.
“This is taxpayer money, and it should not be given to them without a plan,” Village Administrator Peter Scalera said.
Despite challenges caused by COVID-19, Bloomingdale officials aren’t completely convinced the pandemic has made Namdar’s decision making regarding the process more difficult.
“We understand that the pandemic is an issue that is affecting real estate, but the pandemic doesn’t prevent you from providing a road of where this is going into the future,” Coladipietro said. “We believe that they have the village’s best interests at heart but this is a results business.”
A representative for Namdar declined to comment.