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Peru Mall developers are looking into housing

Residential component part of mall's redevelopment

As stores struggle, Peru Mall’s owners are kicking around another option for the mall: Turning the retail space into housing.

Earlier this week, the Peru City Council accepted and placed on file a rezoning request from GK Real Estate in Barrington. The request was accepted without discussion. Mayor Scott Harl said GK was “rebranding” and looking at alternate uses for the mall.

Harl said he plans a sit-down with GK before Independence Day to learn more about the plans.

But the filing dropped a big hint of what may be on tap: “This rezoning allows for the development of market rate multi-family units.”

When asked if GK considers this a primary or secondary option, Harl said, “I will know more after Monday’s meeting with GK.”

A telephone message to GK president Garo Kholamian and an email message to the company were not returned Wednesday afternoon.

GK’s petition did, however, note residential uses have been contemplated before.

“GK had always planned to redevelop the mall in phases, with a residential component being considered for the later phases,” read a portion of the petition completed by Chicago attorney Mary Riordan. “With [COVID-19] all retail, commercial and entertainment venues have closed and their prospects for the next year are uncertain.

“GK had decided that in order to facilitate the mall redevelopment, the residential component needed to be moved to Phase 1 or the redevelopment project would not be feasible.”

GK Real Estate previously had issued a statement announcing it rebranded and changed its name from GK Development.

“Our business has grown into more than just development,” Kholamian said. “We are a full-fledged real estate investment firm that acquires, develops, redevelops and deploys capital in properties that can create added value, provide dependable income and offer tax-advantaged investment opportunities depending on the needs of the investor. We’ve changed our name to better reflect who we are today and how we will continue to do business moving forward.”

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