DANVILLE — Dunham’s Sports will soon be a new anchor at the Village Mall in the space that formerly housed Hobby Lobby.
The mall’s new owner brings the announcement of the sporting goods tenant with them to Danville and also the finalization of their Monday closing on the property.
The mall has been purchased by T Danville, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tabani Group, Inc., of Dallas, Texas.
Jeremiah Sunden, acquisitions director with Tabani Group, says Dunham’s Sports is a sporting goods superstore that carries all the top name brands and apparel, but at lower prices than the competition.
There are four stores in Illinois, but the closest to Danville is in Logansport and Kokomo in Indiana.
Sunden said a deal with a second anchor has been agreed upon, but that anchor cannot yet be named. That national store is a fashion retailer and will take the spot in the former Goody’s space.
Sunden said serious talks with a third, credible anchor store also are taking off.
“There’s a lot of action with that,” Sunden said. “These groups kind of travel in packs. These anchors are generating a lot of interest. We feel very good that we’ll have this mall up and running like it should be.”
Sunden said there are 30 to 35 tenants at the mall, including Dunham’s. He said his group intends to double that number.
The deal with the new owners was facilitated with an incentive package from the City of Danville. That package provides the developer with up to 50 percent of the home rule sales tax generated by each store for a five-year period, but the total does not exceed 50 percent of the total redevelopment costs.
If local laborers are used, the percentage of the home rule sales tax rebate will increase to 75 percent for each of the five years.
Sunden said their property manager has been interviewing sources of local labor. The incentive is being based on the city’s sales tax rate of 2.25 percent.
Dunham’s is expected to generate $4.5 million in sales. Based on those projections, the city’s sales tax revenue would be $101,250 per year, or $506,250 for five years.
The incentive provided to the developer for Dunham’s is $253,125, if the majority of labor is not local. If local labor is used, the city pays $379,687.
The second anchor store is anticipated to generate $3 million in annual sales. Based on that, the city’s sales tax revenue is $67,500 per year, or $337,500 for five years.
The incentive provided to the developer for that store is $168,750 if the majority of labor used is not local. If local labor is used, the city pays $253,125.
The money is being provided up front to assist with renovations of the mall spaces. Both Dunham’s and the impending new anchor are required to sign leases of at least seven years.
Cindy Compton, Village Mall manager, said renovations to the Hobby Lobby space already have started.
Sunden said Compton remains as mall manager.
“It’s very positive,” Compton said. “We’re very pleased to have Tabani Group purchase us with all their plans. It’s a positive not just for the mall, but for the community.”
Compton said the new mall owners have been at the mall property and are already involved.
“We’re looking forward to all the changes that are to come,” Compton said.
Vicki Haugen, president and CEO of Vermilion Advantage, said her group, city officials and the new mall owners first met March 23.
Haugen acknowledged criticism about incentive packages being offered to help stimulate business, but she said especially with retail specific projects it has been a necessity for more than a decade, and not just here.
She said they have been focusing not on what they can give everybody, but where they should invest that would incite a snowball effect for more business to take hold.
Haugen also said “leakage” numbers for the Danville area show that current retailers are not satisfying the need for sporting goods here, with residents going elsewhere for certain items.
“This is a full-blown sporting goods equipment store,” Haugen said
Haugen said a study done some time ago identified the area as a void for a major sporting goods vendor. She said that at that time the area was third highest in Illinois for different sporting licenses.
She noted that Danville also has spill-over retail sales from Indiana residents, too.
“With retail specifically, it indicates that our time has finally come,” Haugen said. “We knew the void had to be filled. The time has come that retailers are focusing on our size of market.”
Sunden said the Vermilion Advantage group was an excellent partner to work with and helped them in making their decision to pursue the Village Mall purchase.
“This initially is one of the most promising (projects) based on activity, so far,” Sunden said.
He noted there is a real gap in the market in Danville, and the fact that solid interest from retailers is coming so quickly, reiterates that fact.
“There is going to be a lot more dollars in Danville,” Sunden said. “It’s great for the community. We’re excited to be a part of it.”