Target's downtown space on the market for $13M

Retail spaces at The Emerson, River Forest Town Center also up for sale


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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The retail space housing the recently opened small-format Target on Lake Street in downtown Oak Park is already on the resale market with an asking price of $13.2 million.

The listing recently appeared on the website for Mid-America Real Estate Corporation. Separately, Mid-America has a single listing for the other two retail spaces in the 271-unit Emerson Apartment building, which are currently occupied by The Groomery, a pet supply store at 106 N. Maple Ave., and Firecakes Donuts, at 104 N. Maple; and another for the Wheel & Sprocket, a bicycle store at 1118 Westgate St.

The Groomery and Firecakes locations are listed as having 3,186 square feet, while the Wheel & Sprocket is 3,175 square feet.

There was no asking price for the other Emerson properties, which are owned by Clark Street Real Estate, who developed the Emerson with Lennar Multifamily Communities.

Clark Street Principal Andy Stein could not be reached for comment.

The listing for the states that Target "is subject to a long-term 15-year lease" at the location.

Mid-America also notes in the listing that more than 34,406 people earning an annual household income of $112,564 live within a mile of the store. "These levels increase to over 118,371 residents with average household incomes of $100,158, within two miles," the listing states.

That's not the only retail on the market through Mid-America. The company also has a listing for the shopping center at the southwest corner of Lake Street and Harlem Avenue, known as River Forest Town Center, which includes: Whole Foods; Petco; Ulta Beauty; Men's Wearhouse; DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse; Loft; Chico's; Rally House; Panera; Walgreens; Lens Crafters; Noodles & Company; Boston Market; Massage Envy; Athletico Physical Therapy; Starbucks and Children's Urgent Care.

That listing also includes retail stores to the east of Harlem known as the Shops of Downtown Oak Park, which includes: GAP; Pier 1 Imports; AT&T; Old Navy; Slice Factory; and TGI Fridays.

The listing for the two shopping centers, which are owned by RFTC 1 Corp., also does not include an asking price.

A Mid-America contact who asked to not be identified in the article said the Target listing is "pretty fresh" but did not say how long the Emerson properties had been on the market.

He said Mid-America already is speaking with a number of private and institutional investors about the property. He noted that the Target could get packaged with the other Emerson properties.

The contact described Oak Park as "a fantastic market" adding that Clark Street is "one of the best developers in Chicago."

"We're lucky to have a relationship with them on a few other things," the contact said. "It's a great property and a great market, and it's been a lot of fun."

Contacts for the other Mid-America-listed properties could not be reached for comment.


Reader Comments

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Ramona Lopez  

Posted: February 20th, 2018 9:38 PM

So now that our 2018 returns are capped at $10k in local taxes, it will be interesting to see how it effects the outcome of future referendums. Most homeowners in Oak Park pay more than $10k per year and that coupled with the huge bump in our state income tax, I would think the school boards would tread lightly. I'm probably wrong though.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: February 20th, 2018 12:03 PM

I for one never said the MID was a primary reason for buying a house, Maureen. We bought the houses because we wanted control over our living environment. The MID and RE tax deductions made that easier, and in my case at least, allowed us to spend money that otherwise would ALL have gone to taxes and interest. We got back several thousand dollars each year- well, paid less taxes- due to those deductions, all of which went into the economy as home improvement purchases and payments to trades people.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 20th, 2018 11:43 AM

I think some who have commented here on the desirability of the MID as a driver of home sales are perhaps ignoring the pull of building equity - - of not "throwing money away" each month in rent to a landlord. I know it's been said that the younger generations seem more likely to rent than buy - - that is probably because they are are more mobile and move around more. For those who determine that they are likely to stay put in one place, I think the pull to put their money into purchasing their own home rather than paying a landlord will factor into the decision more than a possible tax deduction for interest and/or property taxes. Yes, those will be considerations, but not the primary drivers of the decision.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: February 20th, 2018 9:54 AM

I think maybe the problem is more with people here being very sensitive to any criticism of their POV rather than my supposed MO. I'll try my best not to make you feel mocked here, Bruce. The point is, the home mortgage interest deductions along with local RE tax deduction have become an important considerations in the retail economy. The average person is less likely to take on the expense of buying and maintaining a home. I know this not because I read some academic study, but as a person of average means who has spent upwards of $200,000 on improvements to two homes over the past 29 years, money that went into the local economy. That simply wouldn't happen if I was not able write off the mortgage interest and taxes. It's not just the RE industry and banks that want the deduction continued, it's home buyers and owners. If you don't want it, fine. Don't take it. But I and millions of others do.

Nick Polido  

Posted: February 20th, 2018 8:03 AM

If the argument is that Congress passed a law with unintended consequences that list is extremely long. In my average world I know of no one who paid cash for their first or second home or did not benefit from the interest deduction on their taxes.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 20th, 2018 12:25 AM

Bill, thank you for allowing me to elaborate. What I cited was one of several scholarly articles on line related to the history of the so called MID. Roger Lowenstein made the same points in the NY Times some years ago: that as originally conceived "it had nothing what so ever to do with home ownership". (And as an aside, in his - Lowenstein's - opinion, did not in fact encourage home ownership). In other words, it was not something as originally conceived that Congress designed with intent to encourage home ownership. But that obviously is not in keeping with the conventional wisdom... nor in keeping with your preconceived narrative So you do what you usually do here on line Bill, just mock, rather than engage in meaningful discourse. But then again, as Ramona implied, that seems be your MO anyway.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 10:36 PM

As for Mr. Milstein opposing the expansion of West Sub. Many of the hospitals you might be inclined to defend may be going out of business in the coming years in case you are not following the musical chair ownership of the hospitals in the area. So many community hospitals have a tenuous future. Should we be giving them preference over residents, allowing them to eat up and destroy residential neighborhoods. Oak Park Rush Hospital just ate up another block on 500 Wenonah. Now, residents who bought and lived on a nice residential block, on the east side of the street, will be looking out their front windows at a multi-story parking structure. Not everyone sees these issues with your eyes.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 10:31 PM

Jenna Brown, I don't prefer that anyone who wants to be heard be silent. When a person has something to say though, I prefer discourse that does not involve name-calling, rudeness, belittling or bullying. I prefer facts, then we can stack them up against one another and consider which make more sense. I don't agree with you free speech for everyone is a wonderful thing. I disagree with your opinion of R. Milstein and his stance on the Colt Building, the first atrium mall in the United States built in 1932, built as an open arcade from Lake Street through to Westgate. There were many people who wanted to preserve the character of Oak Park's distinctive architectural history on Westgate. Did you know that Market Square in Lake Forest was modeled after Westgate. As one architectural expert said at one of those many meetings during those proceedings involving the destruction of buildings in DTOP, "City planners in newer outlying suburbs are trying to replicate for their Downtowns what already exists in Oak Park. They are trying to create what developers here in Oak Park are trying to destroy". Development interests are a financial force that doesn't allow for differences of opinion. Funny you should mention the Colt Building, I recently came across the article about how the Village President Cliff Osborne had to recuse himself from voting on the Colt Building "Oak Park`s village president, who was found to have violated the suburb`s ethics ordinance when he accepted a football junket last year from Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay (owner of the Colt Building), has gone to court to seek his vindication". I don't know what the outcome of the vindication effort was but I know that Osborne recused himself from voting. This is the kind of monkey-business I was referring to below with regard to development history in Oak Park. As for Mr. Milstein opposing the expa

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 9:43 PM

Wow. The Mortgage Interest Deduction has "absolutely nothing to do with encouraging home ownership." The demonstrably false nature of that assertion aside, you cite ONE study, Bruce, to support your opinion on an issue that got back for a century. Rather paltry evidence.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 9:19 PM

No the MID (mortgage interest deduction) exists because of intense lobbying by the real estate industry. The MID is really an historical accident - it was never ever intended to subsidize housing when originally conceived by the Congress in 1913. It was originally a mere generalized business interest deduction: no more, no less. And since for decades, most homeowners either paid cash or if they did have a mortgage their net income fell well below the income tax threshold, the MID was moot anyway. It had absolutely nothing to do with encouraging home ownership. ( In my opinion it is terrible public policy and should be eliminated.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 8:26 PM

Thank you, Jenna. That needed to be pointed out..

Bert Fischer  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 6:32 PM

Robert, I am not sure what you were trying to say in your last comment. I am not a big tax guy. In fact I think taxes are out of control. I am just pointing out that you are no different than the developers and your original comment shows how selective your memory is.. The mortgage interest and tax deductions exist because politicians have homes, donors have homes and renters don't vote. Why are your living expenses more important to be reimbursed than a renter at Vantage who pays just as much as most home owners for living expenses? Sure, some developments receive subsidies but that is small potatoes compared to the deductions Americans make on their homes ever year. We just got out of a terrible recession which was largely created by our urge to create more home owners. Renting is also good for the economy and should be encouraged as it is a job creator. All I know is I am glad Oak Park is finally attracting developers and I am reaping the benefits of places like Target and Pete's after years of the village doing nothing. I know you are also incentivized to live in your home here and I am also certain I reap no benefits from that.

Jenna Brown Russell  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 6:26 PM

Ms Vernon, as a long time resident, I would prefer for Mr Milstein to remain silent on all things Colt building property. Or do you not recall that he lobbied, as a trustee, for the village to purchase the glue covered eyesore (of 'historical significance!) for $5MM of taxpayer treasure. At that time, an additional $10MM in repairs would yield a structure with an NPV of $8MM. So, instead we then paid to raze it, and there it sat as a parking lot for a decade. This is not to say that criticism of VOP use of funds, and development choices, aren't valid. But Mr Milstein (who attempted to block West Sub expansion in order to avoid demolishing a 'historically significant' building-a long abandoned building with no water or heat, representative of that famous Oak Park graystone), does not seem the most appropriate voice to many of us with long term residency here. Though it does preserve our decades long standing as the home of hubris. Even the new ones, whose opinions remain as valid as ours.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 1:53 PM

Mr. Milstein, your fact-based comments are a valuable and credible perspective since you were a former Village Board member and served as a trustee in Oak Park for years. There aren't so many people who served and have this same insight from actual development projects in Oak Park around to share their experience and knowledge, here in Oak Park and on these comment threads, on these kinds of projects and how they work these days. Thanks for posting.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 10:42 AM

Dear Robert - I get a nice new Target store in walking distance to my DTOP home. And a place to groom my dog. And a bunch of new neighbors who help keep the environment around me vibrant, so we have all sorts of cool choices when we want to go out and eat. It is a win in my book. If the town gets a transfer tax from this deal, it is a start towards making up for the costs the town ate to get the project done. They also get all the sales taxes from that Target store.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 8:06 AM

here are more links with info on this potential sale of Target's lease: and

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 8:03 AM

here is some additional information on this type of transaction - a NNN Net Lease Investment Sale - - note the following: Unlike typical commercial real estate transactions, approach the analysis of a triple-net-leased investment with the idea that IT IS THE LEASE, RATHER THAN THE BUILDING AND LAND, that the investor is purchasing. (from - )

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 7:43 AM

Has anyone provided a definitive answer to the question of whether this transaction is REALLY a property transfer subject to the RE transfer tax? It seems this might be more comparable to a mortgage company "selling" your mortgage to another service provider, not a real transfer of title of a real estate parcel to another owner..

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 1:25 AM

Dear Tom First the developers get tax breaks, reduced land costs, sometimes free land, and free money from our taxes. They build. Then they get a tax bill and they fight it for a reduction. They usually win and get a huge deduction in their tax obligation. We get the transfer tax. The windfall doesn't look so big now does it?

Robert Milstein  

Posted: February 19th, 2018 1:19 AM

Dear Bert In high tax Oak Park , I do still get to have deductions as you state. Those are a form incentives for a home buyer , but they are not in the millions of dollars and unlike the developers, the average person needs those deductions to cover "living". Developers seek incentives that they do not need. Here is an idea: ask one developer to take $0.00 incentive and to then donate $25,000,000 to the Elementary School District. Then deny the 20 story building they want and cut it down to 10 stories. Guess there is less profit but looks much less like Schaumburg.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 18th, 2018 7:59 PM

Jeff Smith: Great analogy!

Jeffrey Smith  

Posted: February 18th, 2018 4:30 PM

The Oak Park Board continues to - I'll try to put this delicately - pimp out Oak Park to one night stand developers who actually manage to make the pimp pay for the developer's pleasure. Trumpland, USA.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: February 18th, 2018 3:05 PM

actually, now that I think about it a bit, I'm not sure it really makes sense - - they're claiming that JUST the portion of the building that houses the Target store is for sale and the price is $13.2 Million? At about 22,000 sq. ft that comes to $600 per square foot. Does that seem realistic to those of you who know commercial real estate? And I guess I'm curious as to how the ownership and value of the entire parcel is distributed - the parking garage, the low-rise apartment building, the higher-rise apartment building, etc. Could each be sold off separately?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: February 18th, 2018 2:18 PM

Eight dollars per thousand dollars of purchase price. .

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 18th, 2018 2:05 PM

If the town collects a real estate transfer tax on the sale of a $13 million building that is a great thing for the people of the town. Maybe you meant "wind fall" not wind tunnel.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 9:33 PM

But Christine, you must be wrong. A study said that would not be a problem. You're not saying studies can be wrong, are you?

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 6:59 PM

Robert Milstein - interesting that you mention the wind tunnel. I have felt it but wondered if other people had. Last week in the big snow, I saw it. During that recent snowstorm, there was visible, observable proof that there is a wind tunnel effect at Forest and Lake. Snow was blowing blizzard-like there. It came in a gale force, around the corner, from the north on Forest and turning east on Lake. For a minute I thought the snow fall was ratcheting up to a blizzard. But as I turned from Forest east onto Lake, mid-way down the block toward the Post Office, the snow was falling softly. As an experiment, I drove a few blocks in each direction away from Forest and Lake and the snow in each direction for several blocks was falling softly and quietly. I returned to see if that was the case at Forest and Lake, if things had changed, if I had only seen a temporary snow tornado or something. Again, there were the kind of gale force winds whipping around that corner by Cooper's Hawk, the kind of "Monroe Effect" you see in Downtown Chicago. Only at that site, that corner, were the wind and snow operating to make the wind tunnel actually observable, the wind tunnel that is. If you don't believe it exists, watch for it while it is snowing one day and you will see the wind tunnel in action.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 6:42 PM

Yep, build and exit. Hit and run development. Oak Park's open for business alright! Build, and get out with your profit quickly before you see how the project impacts the community. Live elsewhere, safe from any negative impact you might have introduced to a community.. Anybody who thinks that development does not need to be regulated very closely needs to take a ride through the West Loop or the South Loop, canyons of lot-line to lot line high-rises and mid-rises, no green space anywhere and no open space for blocks, no recreational outdoor places or ball fields for kids to play. Are there to be no children in these neighborhoods of the future? If Oak Park is open for business, is that the kind of business, is there monkey business that goes along with that development business?. There is a kind of unregulated and chaotic crowding going on in areas of Chicago, as if there is no such field as city planning. Evanston now has 28 high-rises. ( Their Albion 16 story proposal was approved in the Spring of 2017. Recently, another project, the new and would be tallest building proposed at 33 stories was rejected before it got to the City Council. Maybe Evanstonians finally see where this mad fad is going, bigger but not better for the community! The economic pressure to develop on surrounding properties where high-rises are allowed is just too much for developers to resist. In Evanston, it would be interesting to know, do they create open space with increased density? And the pressure gets greater as the fever of the phenomenon of building unbelievably profitable high-rise projects metastasizes. Imagine in the not too distant future, the chaos when all, or some of these buildings have to come down because they are antiquated or flawed. As the history of 1120 Lake Street tells us, with the accusations of 'shoddy construction', not all developments are created equal.

Bridgett Baron  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 2:34 PM

Target has a long-term lease. 15 years.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 10:46 AM

Robert, do you not deduct mortgage interest and property taxes every year? You do receive incentives to purchase property that other people do not. If you were a renter, then you probably could make the argument you just made.

Robert Milstein from Oak Park  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 9:35 AM

The difference is that I did not get a TIF incentive, free land or tax breaks when I purchased my home. In addition, my mortgage, like many, has been sold many times over. However, I have no investment firms seeking to pay significant money for my land. I do get the illegal, unsolicited mailings that ask me to sell my property. In addition, the Village government knew in advance this was going to be build and sell. The interest of developers is not Oak Park, it is as our Village President (not Mayor) wants "we are open for business". What he forgets is we should be selective of what happens. To be clear, I like the Target, the buildings where the old Colt building stood look fine. The Emerson is not what I term a good looking high rise, but it makes a great wind tunnel!

Jason Cohen  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 7:51 AM

The stores aren't leaving. The leases are still in effect. This is just like if your mortgage company sells your mortgage to a new company. The terms are still exactly the same. You just send the payment to someone else. I suppose if the new owners are terrible at managing the property these companies could decide to leave after their lease is up. The people buying don't want empty storefronts. They wants leased property.

Marlene Russum Scott  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 7:32 AM

Same question as Leonard- If/when the Target property sells, will Target leave? Is Target renting the space? If so, how much is the rent. I shop Target and Firecakes (in addition to donuts, Firecakes has a delicious fried chicken sandwich!)

Robert Milstein from OakPark  

Posted: February 17th, 2018 4:11 AM

Follow the money. We are the town that never learned. Developers do not need our tax dollars, they merely convince Board members they do. The majority caves in and gives the money. The tex breaks, too. Then they build and then they sell and leave. Yes, a tax benefit occurs for the properties sale, but property taxes go up, up and up for homeowners. Your share of the pie (property tax) is not going to go down. In fact, it will likely go up.

Leonard Grossman  

Posted: February 16th, 2018 9:25 PM

So, Is Target leaving or is it merely that the owner of the underlying property is selling?

Amanda Poppenk Massie from Oak park  

Posted: February 16th, 2018 6:27 PM

Jeff, ur right, I'm sure they got a huge tax break. But remember what our "Mayor" says at the end of each Village Board Mtg, . . Oak Park is open for business. Just a revolving door for developers.

Leonard Grossman  

Posted: February 16th, 2018 5:34 PM

That didn't take long. Looks like there is a wholesale supply of retail In Oak Park.

Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: February 16th, 2018 5:22 PM

This should make things easier for the tax assessor. Oops I forgot, they probably have gotten some kind of tax break.

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