GALESBURG, Ill. (KWQC) – Store owners tell KWQC they only have a few more months left at the Sandburg Mall in Galesburg. This comes after new ownership took over the mall in late October.
Various stores at Sandburg Mall got a letter from new owners of the mall last week. It says tenants need to be out by March 2017 to make way for demolition.
Owners of Universal Sporting Goods, Holly Shore and Jim Smith say this is very unexpected and makes for a very difficult holiday season.
“This is our last Christmas here,” Shore said.
There are sales everywhere you look at Universal Sporting Goods.
“We’ve knocked two to three hundred dollars off some of our autographed big jerseys, big name jerseys, so now’s the time if you’re looking for it to come in and get it,” Shore said.
Shore and Smith say it’s not because Christmas is approaching, but because they have to be move out of the Sandburg Mall by March.
“His exact words were, ‘Did you not know the mall was going to be demolished starting in March?’ and I said absolutely not,” Shore said.
After calling one of the new mall owners to raise some concerns, Shore says they got a letter last week explaining that the mall must be demolished immediately.
The letter does not clarify which parts will be torn down, though.
“Saying it’s going to cost too much to repair it, replace it, and apparently [JC Penney] and Bergners, […] they’ve discussed it with their corporate, they’re going to go ahead and stay, they have their own entrances,” Shore said.
Now smaller stores, like Universal Sporting Goods have to think about where to go after the mall closes in March.
“So far all we’ve done we just drove around town, just looking to see what spots are empty and available, and we haven’t had time to start calling them and checking just to see, but probably end up moving downtown somewhere, it’s hard to say,” Smith said.
This news is also devastating for people like Victoria Bell, who have many great memories shopping at the mall.
“It was a big part of my childhood, I mean I grew up here, I was here a lot, I got dragged here and we went shopping here,” Bell said.
She says the thought of demolition is going to take some getting used to.
“Once that starts up and you start hearing about that, that’s just going to hurt the most, because I know it’s just not going to be there anymore, it’s just going to be gone,” Bell said.
The letter does not include what will happen to the space after demolition.
It does say that changes need to be made because the mall does not generate enough revenue to pay the operating cost.
KWQC reached out to the new owners of the Sandburg Mall.
In an email Wednesday, they told us, “We are developing our concept and it is a work in progress.”
They went on to say, “We are not able to disclose any further plans until we are ready to begin construction.”
You can read the entire letter Universal Sporting Goods received from new owners of the Sandburg Mall below.