After sitting empty for six years, the former ShopKo building is going to have a new tenant.
MC Sports will occupy 22,555 feet of space in the 500,000-square-foot building.
After sitting empty for six years, the former ShopKo building is going to have a new tenant. MC Sports will occupy 22,555 feet of space in the 500,000-square-foot building. “I think that would be most welcome to get that space occupied. It’s been a difficulty. .. I’m happy that MC’s coming and going to relocate there,” said Mayor Dave Mingus. MC Sports is a retailer that is based in Grand Rapids, Mich. The company has more than 74 stores in seven states throughout the Midwest. MC Sports carries fitness equipment, sports equipment, apparel and footwear and outdoor equipment for camping, hunting and fishing, plus more. Cullinan Properties Ltd. brought the tenant to M&L Joseph Properties, who owns the building. Kellie Schmidt, marketing manager for Cullinan Properties Ltd., said, “We’re really excited. … This deal is a little different than most because we worked with M&L Joseph Properties.” Rick Joseph, who is the attorney for M&L Joseph Properties, said he thinks a sporting goods store is a good fit for East Peoria. “It’s not only thrilling to see something coming to that building, to me it’s thrilling to see a sporting goods store. I had three boys going through East Peoria schools and they all needed shoes and sporting good apparel. … I thought a sporting good store would be perfect,” he said. Joseph and Schmidt said MC Sports is different from Bass Pro. “Bass Pro doesn’t carry team sports. They carry sports equipment for sports that you can do yourself — fishing, hunting, archery, kayaking, things like that, but you won’t find a basketball, baseball, bats, things like that. There’s nothing like that in Bass Pro,” Joseph said.
Joseph said the agreement with MC Sports came “through a lot of effort through a lot of people seeking appropriate uses that would not only be a good fit for the facility,” but also for the community. Currently, works trucks are onsite doing interior demolition. “It surprised me. It’s not as simple as taking a big box store and building intervening walls,” Joseph said. Electricity, air conditioning, heating and fire suppression all had to be reworked. “You have electricity running to one point. Air conditioning is set to cool the entire area, not separate zones,” Joseph said. Plumbing is also being installed for additional restrooms. After the demolition and reconstruction work, which is on schedule, work will be done to the outside of the building. This includes cutting in new doors. According to Joseph, MC Sports has a target opening date in November. “They want to be there for the Christmas season,” Joseph said. “The target is to open before Black Friday. They’re anxious to get in. The project is moving ahead very rapidly and running on schedule.” Another tenant has signed a lease for 20,000-square-feet of space within the building, but Joseph would not provide more details. There is still an additional 44,000 square feet available for which Joseph said they are “actively seeking, compatible, quality tenants.” The 500,000-square-foot anchor at Town Centre II was originally built as a Walmart. After Walmart built its Supercenter in East Peoria, ShopKo filled the space from 2000 to 2007. ShopKo closed in early 2007 and the building sat empty for years. “At first ShopKo closed but they still had time left on their lease. They continued to market the space and continued to pay us rent. We didn’t have the right to market the site,” Joseph said. However, Joseph added the real reason he thinks that the space sat empty for so long was due to its size. “The real reason I believe … an 89,000 square foot space is a dinosaur today. That was constructed as a Walmart. You have big box retailers needing greater than 89,000 square feet,” he said. Although Joseph said they tried very hard to fill the space, they could not find a tenant that needed that much space. “The space had to be carved up to use it,” he said. “Instead of marketing to one user you have to figure out how you are going to demise the space to make it economical.” A third reason for the length of time the building sat empty, Joseph said, was the economy. “In 2007, the market was on a substantial downturn. Retailers were closing,” he said. The closest MC Sports outside of East Peoria is in Bloomington.