Lake Zurich is part of a positive retail trend that includes a decrease in retail vacancy rates and an increase in lease rates, said Lake Zurich Building and Zoning Director Dan Peterson.
Peterson said he recently attended Chicago Deal Making, an International Council on Shopping Centers show at Navy Pier. The consensus among retail experts is that retail activity is better this year than it has been in the past four, Peterson said.
The retail vacancy rate was at 10.21 percent at the end of the third quarter, according to a report by Vijay Gadde, planning manager for the village. This compares to the national average of 10.9 percent and the Chicago average of 11.3 percent.Lake Zurich retail vacancies reached a high of 12.65 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
Lake Zurich’s recent successes include LA Fitness which moved into the former Wickes Furniture building and opened last month. Peterson said the Wickes was only open for about 6 months and the building had been underutilized for five years.
“Oxford Development worked to bring LA Fitness as a user of the site. LA Fitness put in excess of $4 million to renovate and it was up and running in the time framed stated. It’s a very exciting quality reuse of a 42,000 square foot building,” Peterson said.
Peterson said a business such as LA Fitness has members from other towns who will then shop in Lake Zurich while in town.
Also new to Lake Zurich, Savers opened earlier this month in the former Office Depot, which was vacant for two years.
Other activity includes O’Reilly Auto Parts which moved into the old Blockbuster building on Rte. 12. Midwest Motors is expected open in the former Capaccio Brothers site.
Peterson said there have also been numerous smaller vacancies that have filled.
“We’ve seen quite a bit of activity in recent months,” he said.
Two of the biggest concerns in town are the former K-Mart building on Rte. 12 and the Old Omega restaurant on Rte 12 and Rte. 22.
Peterson said the widening of the road at Rte. 12 and 22 created access issues for the Old Omega site. Regarding the K-Mart, Peterson said that is an owner issue.
“At this point in time, it’s a private property issue. If you’ve got a property owner who is very selective about the type of user, all we can do is keep bringing ideas and folks to table. We are working with that group to find a quality user for the 88,000 square foot building,” he said.
“We in the village of Lake Zurich are really fortunate,” Peterson said. He credited property owners who maintain quality sites and an economically strong region with higher household incomes that are desirable to retailers.
Editor's note: The percentage rates on retail vacancies was added to this article on Oct. 19.