Skokie mall loses first major tenant in four years

Bloomngdale’s to close 206,000-square-foot store this year

4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center and Bloomingale's CEO Tony Spring (Google Maps, Getty)
4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center and Bloomingale's CEO Tony Spring (Google Maps, Getty)

A Skokie mall that managed to avoid losing major tenants as the retail market struggled is taking a hit.

Bloomingdale’s said it would close its department store in the Westfield Old Orchard outdoor shopping mall and open a smaller location elsewhere in Skokie, Crain’s reported. The exit marks the first loss of a major tenant in four years for the 1.7 million-square-foot property on Skokie Boulevard between Old Orchard and Golf Roads, which also has a Nordstrom and a Macy’s. Lord & Taylor left in early 2018.

Bloomingdale’s aims to close the 206,000-square-foot location later this year, when it opens a smaller-format store dubbed Bloomie’s that will encompass 50,000 square feet.

While the location of the new store hasn’t been disclosed, people familiar with the mall
told Crain’s that it will be in the same mall, in space left vacant when a Barnes & Noble store closed last year.

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High-end tenants for the mall, in a wealthy Chicago suburb, helped the property stay afloat amid a rocky retail market. Sales at the shopping center, which includes Apple, Tiffany, L.L. Bean and Crate & Barrel, fell 36 percent in 2020 as the pandemic swept the world.

Still, it was about 21 percent vacant as of February, as property owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield managed to lease less than half the Lord & Taylor store, to a virtual reality gaming operator that signed a short-term lease.

The mall filled one vacancy earlier this year. Capital Grille agreed to lease a 10,000-square-foot restaurant that had been empty since 2018.

— Victoria Pruitt