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Peru Mall owners to pump $70 million into redevelopment

July 22 hearing postponed indefinitely

Part of GK Real Estate's plan for Peru Mall redevelopment includes high-end one- and two-bedroom apartments, theater upgrades and select retail. A name change also is on the horizon – the site will be named The Mall instead of Peru Mall.
Part of GK Real Estate's plan for Peru Mall redevelopment includes high-end one- and two-bedroom apartments, theater upgrades and select retail. A name change also is on the horizon – the site will be named The Mall instead of Peru Mall.

The company that owns Peru Mall plans to invest $70 million in redeveloping the mall into a mix of housing, shopping and dining – and the first $27 million will be put to work next year.

But it will be a few more weeks before Peru residents find out what else GK Real Estate has up its sleeve. The City Council learned Monday a July 22 hearing was postponed indefinitely when a public notice deadline came and went with no completed application from the Barrington company.

Bob Vickrey, the city’s director of economic development, delivered a synopsis of GK’s plans, which were discussed at a June meeting in Barrington. Not least among GK’s plans is a new name.

“The mall is going to be ‘The Mall,’ ” Vickrey said. “No more ‘Peru Mall.’ ”

GK then plans to invest $70 million over a three-year span beginning with converting some space into what Vickrey described as “high-end apartments.” These are one- and two-bedroom units with many amenities and targeting part-time residents who spend their winters in sunny destinations such as Florida.

Alderman Mike Sapienza wondered aloud about what rents GK might command given the size of its investment and what kind of market there is for high-end apartments.

“I’m sure they know more about it than I do,” Sapienza said when advised GK had commissioned a study demonstrating such a market.

Vickrey specifically noted GK was steering clear of three-bedroom units and that a projection showed just 11 new students to be enrolled in local school districts.

The residential component comprises $27 million of GK’s investment and begins next year, followed by redevelopment of the theater and select retail. Thereafter, GK will conduct an expanded redevelopment of the mall over two years – entertainment, dining and some retail – along with a complete remodeling of the exterior, which will include landscaping, new signage and lighting.

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