Springfield’s oldest shopping center is up for sale on online auction site

Springfield’s oldest shopping center is on the selling block.

The Town and Country Shopping Center, on MacArthur Boulevard next to Hy-Vee, is up for sale in an online auction set May 20-24 through Ten-X, an Irvine, California-based company specializing in commercial real estate. An opening bid has been set at $1.6 million. Prospective buyers were allowed to tour the facility Tuesday.

The facility, which opened in September 1961, has struggled in recent years following the closure of many anchor stores, most notably Burlington Coat Factory, which moved to a new site in Sherwood Plaza in 2018.

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The property was formerly owned by a group including city attorney Jim Zerkle and developer Corky Joyner. It is now in the hands of bondholders going by the name of “South MacArthur Boulevard LLC.” The LLC will transfer its bonds – and the property – over to whoever buys the property in the auction.

Ward 7 Ald. Joe McMenamin said that prior owners had been looking at other properties and that Town and Country wasn’t as big of a priority as it had been previously.

“The existing owners failed to reinvest in the property sufficiently to attract new tenants,” McMenamin said.

For all of the issues that it has, Town and Country has potential for a new owner. With ample space to add new tenants – in particular the old Burlington spot – proximity to the Hy-Vee supermarket, large residential neighborhoods and good schools, not to mention its location along the MacArthur Boulevard corridor, those promoting the property see a lot of added value with Town and Country that could be cultivated with the right owner.

“It’s 35% leased,” said Paul Brile, a broker with Transwestern based out of Chicago, working with Ten-X on the sale of the property. “It’s across the street from Hy-Vee, which is one of the top grocery stores in the Midwest. MacArthur (Boulevard), they’re going to upgrade and improve it and if you drive west of the property, there’s a lot of housing there.

“If somebody buys this and they can reconfigure it slightly or bring in the right tenants, I think there’s a good, strong upside potential to buying the property,” Brile said.

McMenamin said the property also has the advantage of being within two separate economic incentive zones – an enterprise zone and a tax increment financing district, adding additional potential value to the property.

“There’s a lot of positives for that whole linear commercial, retail and residential strip there,” McMenamin said. “It’s got vast potential.”

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Both Brile and McMenamin agree that the new owner will need to get to work attracting new tenants.

While located in a good spot, the center as a whole has struggled to keep up with faster-growing areas west of MacArthur, such as the Veterans Parkway corridor with Parkway Pointe and White Oaks Mall and the west end of Wabash, with Southwest Plaza and the Interstate 72 corridor.

Getting tenants into the property will be a big priority, one that will take some work in order to bring the shopping center back.

“The new buyer is going to have to fill up that space with uses,” McMenamin said. “That’s the challenge. The new buyer will have to find new tenants. That’ll take some effort and some time.”

Contact Zach Roth: (217) 899-4338; [email protected]; @ZacharyRoth13

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Town and Country Shopping Center in Springfield, IL up for sale