Re-Visiting Crystal Lake’s Ghost Shopping Center

I guess that’s as good a name as any for where Walmart and Cub Food used to hold sway, now the Walmat building is gone.

Where Walmart used to be in Crystal Lake

Where Walmart used to be in Crystal Lake.

Ten years ago in May, Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley envisioned the area turning into a Deer Park.

That’s what he told the Crystal Lake Kiwanis.

Deer Park Shopping Center

Deer Park Shopping Center

When asked in August of 2006 if the shopping center might be put in a TIF, Shepley answered,

“We’re not moving in the direction of including it in the TIF.”

The Mayor seemed surprised that it was not in the Vulcan Lakes TIF District.

MIchelle Rentzsch, development guru for the City, sent the following in answer to my inquiry about what’s happening:

“A developer is working to assemble the parcels, speculatively hoping to eventually redevelop the property. As of yet, no plans have been submitted to the city.”


Re-Visiting Crystal Lake’s Ghost Shopping Center — 11 Comments

  1. Sad. Over many years lots of good memories there.

    My youngest daughter worked at that Cub Foods as a teenager and then as a young married woman beginning her family.

    She actually worked the day she went into labor with our first grandchild.

    Walmart was a great place to shop and had all American made products.

    Years later we bought bicycles for the grandkids at that Walmart.

    These days I wouldn’t be caught dead in any Walmart.

    Gone are those good times.

    Might as well knock all those buildings down.

  2. TIFs & SSA’s are yet two more stealth taxes and two more pseudo units of government that tend to fly under the radar.

    SSA = Special Service Area.

    TIF = Tax Increment Finance.

    In DuPage County their local government consolidation effort resulted in eliminating a paper fire protection district.

    At the time and maybe still to this day, it was the only local consolidation in DuPage that resulted in “reducing” the official number of units of government (although DuPage did find savings in other areas as part of their ACT effort).

    Fairview Fire Protection District in unincorporated Downers Grove.

    The fire protection district existed on paper only, no trucks, no firemen, no buildings, it existed for pretty much billing purposes only, subcontracting to a real fire department or fire protection district that had trucks, firemen, and buildings.

    The result was hiked taxes to property taxpayers from an SSA, for fire protection.

    The alleged reason was the Fire Protection District was bound by property tax limitations from hiking taxes to cover the true cost of services, so other parcels in the Village of Downers Grove (Fire Department) were paying more than their fair share.

    So an SSA (actually many SSA’s albeit only one per parcel) replaced the paper fire protection district.

    It was a stealth paper consolidation tax hike for those in the SSA, a tax reduction for those outside the SSA but within the Village of Downers Grove taxing district.

  3. It is all too often these buildings get demolished.

    The area is over saturated with businesses.

    Nobody is going to be interested in a property with old vacant box stores.

    The problem is why would any business go there when everything is on Randall Rd.

    This is going to be demolished after sitting vacant for another 10 years.

  4. TIF’s take money away from schools and then politicians blame the schools and teachers.

  5. It the school administrators that take the money away from the teachers.

  6. The 2006 economy was propped up by easy mortgage money for borrowers courtesy of investors who purchased bundled lots of mortgages without adequate full disclosure of the risk.

    Similar situation in 2006.

    Most taxpayers don’t understand the risk or current financial status of all the layers of government who tax them.

    If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

    Police and fire retiring at age 50 after 30 years with $75,000 starting pensions.

    Teachers retiring at age 55 after 35 years with $75,000 starting pensions.

    Commonplace in 2016.

    There are always exceptions, some more, some less.

    Retirees recoup lifetime employee pension contributions in 1 – 2 years.

    Early Retiree healthcare often also is included as part of the deal.

    Pension Funds at 43% – 50% – 60% funding all over the place.

    Guaranteed in the state constitution.

    And taxpayers never contribute enough money, government always needs more money.

    Teachers and administrators can accumulate up to 340 unused sick days and cash them out or exchange them for years of service credit (to retire earlier).

    Non pensionable bonuses paid out in same cases.

    20 pension systems, thousands of units of government.

    Watchdogs are the rarest of breeds and when present are typically not organized.

  7. MARK!!! You’re missing the point here.

    We are talking 1992!!!

    What are you going on about?

  8. As a matter of fact, Mark.

    Go get your own blog.

    You are ruining all of Cal’s nostalgia pieces with your stats.

    Sheesh, dude.

    Give it a rest already.

  9. Perhaps- the building was demolished because it was not worth saving….

    Perhaps developers can build what they feel the market supports.

    Perhaps economic development is more than retail national chains….

    Perhaps the area will be exactly what it was described now that the market can support it.

    Basic economics.

  10. Property is zoned mixed-use and that’s what’s on the comp plan. Look for residential backing to Vulcan Lakes and small retail closer to 14. This all will depend on getting the old cub foods building as well. It’s not a bad idea for the area, since the City wants to move the entry to VL on 14 to this Center if possible. As long as the city doesn’t go crazy loading up on all the expensive wish-list items they’ll want the developer to pay for, it should be workable.

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