Stratford Square Mall to close next month

Stratford Square Mall, once a hub of retail anchored by Montgomery Ward and other long-gone department stores, will shut its doors next month.

The zombie mall has been declining for years. Fed up with the status quo, the village of Bloomingdale began independently buying vacant anchor stores around Stratford Square. Earlier this year, the village purchased the last piece — the core of the mall — in an $8.75 million deal.

With the mall under village ownership and the property consolidation complete, officials are helping the few remaining tenants relocate to new spaces. After more than 40 years in business, the mall is set to close to the public at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 21, officials said in a statement.

For some residents, the mall’s demise was sad but inevitable.

In a sign of the times, another suburban mall, Spring Hill, straddling West Dundee and Carpentersville, closed for good last Friday.

Bloomingdale officials say they aim to revitalize the area with a blend of restaurants, entertainment venues, retail, housing options and public open spaces. Village President Franco Coladipietro has said he envisions a mixed-use development with an “emphasis on entertainment experience” replacing the mall.

Stratford Square opened in the mall-rat era, filling the shopping void between Woodfield, the king of suburban malls, to the north and the higher-end Oak Brook shopping center. The mall at one point had six anchor stores, a movie theater and a dancing water fountain.

But while other enclosed malls sought reinvention and a new look, Stratford Square remained largely stagnant and past its prime.

Bloomingdale leaders initially tried to work on a joint venture with Namdar Realty Group, a New York-based commercial real estate firm that acquired the interior portion of the mall in October 2019.

But those negotiations faltered, and Bloomingdale moved to acquire the former Carson’s, Burlington and Sears properties along with the strip of land along Springfield Drive.

Namdar and Mason Asset Management stated in January saying they had “agreed to sell the property to allow for its demolition and enable the village to advance its vision for redevelopment.”

The village’s statement said the “project not only promises to reshape Bloomingdale’s landscape but also to strengthen its financial foundation.”

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