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ELGIN, IL-Burlington Coat Factory has leased 70,000 square feet at the Otter Creek Shopping Center, in a deal more than two years in the making. The 10-year lease allows the retailer to become an anchor in a redeveloped Dominick’s grocery store.

The deal was facilitated with the help of Edgemark Commercial Real Estate Services LLC’s Matt Smetana, who represented property owner Stelios Aktipis. Brad Gershman with Gershman, Brown, Crowley Inc. represented Burlington Coat Factory in the lease.

Burlington will open in March 2009 at the center at Randall Road and Lake Street. “They like the area’s demographics,” Smetana tells GlobeSt.com, of Burlington’s decision to take up space in the center. “It has a strong Hispanic population, which was part of what they were looking for.”

The property is in the northwest suburban submarket, the strength of which Smetana says varies from place to place in terms of retail occupancy. “The submarket is hanging in there,” Smetana says. “Elgin’s downtown area is a little more challenged, but Randall Road is still a pretty strong, healthy area.”

The 362,305-square-foot property is “an older shopping center,” Smetana says, which Aktipis bought in 2007. Since then, the owner has begun renovating the retail center, doing work to update and improve the facade, landscaping and parking lot. The center is currently about 90% leased, with other tenants including Office Max, Hobby Lobby and Fashion Bug. Asking lease rates in the shopping center average around $10 to $12, per square foot gross, though Smetana says Burlington is paying in the single digits for its space.

Smetana said the deal was a hard-fought one, which went back and forth numerous times between two different building owners and the retailer during the past two years. “It was a challenging deal that took a long time to get done,” Smetana says. “It was one of those deals that was dead and then back again several times, and now it’s back alive.”

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