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Future for EP’s Planet Fitness is unhealthy due to new Plaza plans

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Tens of thousands of fitness fanatics may Page-1-2-col-plazaThe Plaza in Evergreen Park is ready for redevelopment but an issue remains regarding the status of a healthy facility that boasts 12,000 members. Photo by Bob Rakow.have to look elsewhere for their weights, treadmills and exercise classes if the Planet Fitness in Evergreen Park closes its doors.
The fitness facility, located on the north end of the Plaza, could be closed if the village uses powers of eminent domain to take over the shopping mall.
But village officials say the use of eminent domain powers is only a possibility.
“The village has been working for years on redeveloping the Plaza,” village attorney Vince Cainkar said at Monday’s village board meeting.
Representatives from Planet Fitness and Carson’s, which still has a store in the Plaza, appeared at the meeting to ask about the village’s redevelopment plans.
Bryan Rishforth, Planet Fitness owner and developer, said the Evergreen Park location has approximately 12,000 members and the club has multi-year lease at the mall. He added that Planet Fitness supports the redevelopment and wants to stay at the location.
Rishforth could not be reached for additional comment on Tuesday.
The fitness center’s primary concern is communicating with the village about redevelopment plans and want to stay out of court, he said.
The village is considering using “quick take” powers to acquire the mall for redevelopment. “Even if it’s quick take, it’s still a slow process,” Cainkar said.
Carson’s representatives have said they oppose the use of eminent domain to acquire the Plaza.
Cainkar said the village does not necessarily plan to use has not eminent domain powers simply because it has the authority. The village and Carson’s remain in negotiation regarding the store’s future, officials said.
Evergreen Park trustees last year authorized Cainkar to negotiate with Carson’s so that demolition of the mall, 95th Street and Western Avenue, can proceed.
The mall closed on May 31, 2013. Applebee’s, which is located on an out lot, is the only other property that remains open. An Applebee’s representative attended Monday’s meeting.
DeBartolo Development wants to demolish the mall and replace it with a “lifestyle center,” Chicago Real Estate Daily.com reported. The development firm is owned by former San Francisco 49ers’ owner Eddie DeBartolo.
The 61-year-old shopping mall, formerly the Evergreen Plaza, has been in foreclosure since 2011. The property is currently in receivership.
The mall was conceived by developer Arthur Rubloff in the 1936 and opened in August 1952 as an open-air shopping center. Carson’s anchored the mall along with the Fair Store, Lytton’s and Walgreens. The mall also featured a Jewel supermarket. The entire mall was enclosed in 1966.