Slumberland a potential replacement at former Sears location in Danville

Slumberland a potential replacement at former Sears location in Danville

DANVILLE — Most of the 60,000 square feet left empty by the 2014 closing of the Danville Sears store could be filled by a furniture retailer — and the city is offering an incentive to make it happen.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said a Minnesota-based developer is considering buying the former Sears space at the Village Mall and using most of it to house a Slumberland Furniture store. He said it's "very unusual" for space at the mall to be purchased rather than leased, but that's the arrangement being considered.

Slumberland, a Minnesota-based chain of furniture and bedding stores, opened a franchised store in the summer of 2004 on Town Center Boulevard in Champaign. All three of its Illinois stores are in the central part of the state, with others in Decatur and Springfield.

Cindy Compton, manager at the Village Mall in Danville, said she could not comment specifically about what might be in the works at the former Sears space. But, she said, there has been a lot of interest in that spot and that mall owners have been working diligently to fill it.

Sears announced last September that it would be closing its Danville auto center and store at the Village Mall by the end of the year. It had been an anchor there since 1990 when it moved to the indoor mall from its long-time downtown location.

Tom Hedrick, executive director of marketing with Slumberland, said Monday that the furniture company is looking at Danville for a possible new store location, along with a number of markets.

"At this point, nothing in Danville has been finalized. As you know, a lot can happen in the course of prospective real estate acquisitions before deals formally close," said Hedrick, who declined additional comment.

Compton said the opening of Jo-Ann Fabric's new space at the mall — slated for late July, across from Garfield's restaurant — has generated more interest in some of the other spaces still open at the mall, like the former Glik's location.

Aldermen on the city council's public services committee Tuesday night will consider an agreement that would rebate back to the property owner at least half of the annual sales tax generated in that space.

According to Eisenhauer and the incentive agreement, Minnesota-based Larsen Family Real Estate would purchase the 60,000-square-foot-location at the mall, and by Oct. 15, Slumberland would occupy about 40,000 of it. The developer would find another tenant for the remaining 20,000 square feet.

The city would reimburse Larsen's costs of redeveloping the former Sears space over a 10-year period through a sales tax rebate.

According to the agreement, if local labor is used during redevelopment, then the city would pay the developer the equivalent of 75 percent of the 2.25 percent local sales tax that's collected each year, not to exceed $100,000 each year of the agreement.

If local labor is not used, the city would pay the equivalent of 50 percent of the sales tax generated, also with a cap of $100,000 a year. Under that scenario, the developer must purchase and own the property for up to 15 years. If the store closed during the agreement, the city would not have to pay while no retailer operated there.

Moving in

Over the past decade, Danville's 40-year-old Village Mall has seen its share of comings (Dunham's Sports, Old Navy) and goings (J.C. Penney, the food court). If Slumberland lands where Sears once stood, it would mark the latest chain to set up shop at the mall:

2013: Burlington Coat Factory

2013: Ross Dress for Less

2015: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft

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