First stores announced for Schererville’s Shops on Main
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent May 8, 2013 4:54PM
Updated: June 10, 2013 2:02PM
SCHERERVILLE — After years of anticipation, Shops on Main has announced its first four stores, and although they’re not necessarily the high-end stores many people expected, they’re part of a much bigger plan.
The first four stores —Ross Dress for Less, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, HomeGoods and Omaha-based Gordmans — will be part of the project’s first phase comprised of two shop buildings and five pads, and will take up 28 acres of the 35-acre site. Public Works Director Bob Volkmann said Wednesday developer Boyer Properties has chosen Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Graycor Construction as the general contractor, and construction will officially start next week.
Councilman Jerry Tippy, R-1, said he’s already started receiving calls about the stores not being the caliber that had been touted since the project’s inception in 2007. He understands the confusion but said that because the economy changed the whole project scope, the approach to getting the higher-end stores had to change.
“Once the economy bottomed out, lifestyle centers became a thing of the past and retail centers took on a new look by using upscale architecture and landscaping, like we are with Shops on Main,” he said. “For example, lifestyle centers had an entertainment component. Barnes & Noble was going to be ours, and with it came a whole clique of shops that were always associated with Barnes & Noble. Then things changed.”
And the assumption that the high-end stores would even come to Schererville was always a gamble Tippy never understood the town taking.
“There was a list of stores the town wanted for the center, but if you looked at the demographics here, we would never be able to support it,” he said. “We have some very well-to-do areas, yes, but it’s not densely populated as such, and that’s what the higher-end retailers look for.
“The new stores and restaurants may not be as upscale as those found in Oak Brook (Ill.), but many of the stores will be new to Northwest Indiana.”
Allyse Sanchez, a spokesperson for Shops on Main’s retail developer Regency Centers, confirmed the four stores are the only ones for which Shops on Main has firm commitments. Tippy said there are more in the works, but confidentiality prohibits talking about them yet.
The current stores, however, do attract higher-end stores in the end, he said.
The 147,851-square-foot community shopping center anchored by Gordmans, is estimated to cost a total of $95 million, of which the town is financing $19 million in bonds to cover infrastructure and other improvement. The bonds will be repaid by the Kennedy Avenue Tax Increment Financing District, or funds generated from the increase in assessed value to property taxes caused by the new development.