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CHICAGO-A Lowe’s home improvement store will become the new anchor of the Scottsdale Shopping Mall at 79th Street and Cicero Avenue with the help of $8.1 million in tax increment financing. The 134,550-sf Lowe’s store is expected to draw other retailers to the center, which will have another 134,848 sf of “contemporary” retail space built on five outlots.

The tax increment financing for the $37-million redevelopment of the shopping center on the city’s border was endorsed Tuesday by the community development commission. A new store for Lowe’s will replace a store on the northern end of the site formerly occupied by the Goldblatt’s retail chain until it closed in 2002, says Albert Acevedo of the department of planning and development. The center on the southeast corner of 79th Street and Cicero Avenue has since fallen on hard times, he adds, a victim of an antiquated layout with functionally obsolete basement and mezzanine space as well as the loss of its department store anchor.

“The shopping center was on the cutting edge of retail at the time it was built,” says James Capraro, executive director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp. However, the center has not been able to keep up with the changing retail market, he adds, and the city has lost sales tax revenue to neighboring southwest suburbs.

Capraro claims a check of parking lots in Bedford Park retail centers reveals up to 95% of the vehicles bear city of Chicago stickers. As a result, that bedroom community is able to equip its police officers with new squad cars, and the village’s library is “four times the size” of most Chicago Public Library branches.

David and Abraham Katz, who have owned the center since 1979, had sought $18 million in tax increment financing. Instead, the Northbrook-based operators will get a $5-million tax-exempt note and a $3.l-million taxable note, both given upon completion of the redevelopment, which the Katz Brothers hope comes in early 2008.

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