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Dollar Tree To Fill Former Blockbuster Space

One of the vacancies in Meadow Plaza will be filled with a discount store.

The lights are set to go back on at the former Blockbuster Video in Northbrook, where a Dollar Tree store is in the works. 

Property owner Jay Heitman told Patch that he signed a contract with Dollar Tree last week, and that demolition has already begun inside. Operating thousands of stores around the country, Dollar Tree is a Virginia-based chain that sells a variety of merchandise for $1 or less. 

Northbrook’s new discount store will occupy an 8,000-square-foot site on the northwestern side of Meadow Plaza that was vacated by Blockbuster Video about two years ago. Heitman also owns the former Walgreens site next door, which still remains empty. Walgreens has paid its lease through 2024. 

In the past, community members have criticized Meadow Plaza for its vacancies and suggested they may be related to the long-term leases both Walgreens and Blockbuster signed. That issue came up often during a five-month community planning process to create a new plan for downtown development in Northbrook.

““It could be a terrific public space,” resident Todd Speed said at a public input meeting in October 2011. “At the moment, it’s something bordering on neglect.”

During a Jan. 31, 2012, meeting of the steering committee that oversaw draft plan for downtown development, committee member Carolyn Ferber suggested that the village should investigate any roadblocks to eminent domain, while member Amy Kurson asked whether the village could revise zoning codes in an area to make certain property owners so uncomfortable that they would want to sell.

“What I’m asking for is a layout from legal and planning if you want to wallop a recalcitrant landowner over the head,” she said. 

Heitman told Patch that selling a space as big as the former Walgreens store is difficult, and that the tough economic climate doesn’t help. He also said he saw vacancies everywhere now, even in communities as wealthy as Winnetka and Wilmette. 

“I drive through towns all over and when I see dark spots, I care about those towns,” he said. Heitman said he was still searching for a tenant for the former Walgreens space. 

Next door, however, a building permit is posted in the window and a forklift and wooden pallets show signs of life inside.   

“It was a black hole before,” Heitman said. “Is it a black hole now?”

Dottie February 22, 2012 at 09:29 PM
We have lived here over 45 years and can't believe how disgusting the village is by even suggesting eminent domain or by forcing someone to sell their property. Would you like that to happen to you and your property.? What happened to the caring community we used to know. Unfortunately, it has been replaced by greed and grandiosity. Shame on you.!!
Deidre March 12, 2012 at 01:17 AM
This is not the type of store downtown Northbrook needs. How about Party City or Babies R Us or Trader Joe's. Dollar Tree sells things that hurt the environment -- should not be opening here! What a horrible plan. Heitman is just looking for money and should take the neighborhood into consideration before doing this. Shame on you!
Alfred March 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I'm THRILLED that a Dollar Tree is coming to Northbrook! I have been going out of my way to the Morton Grove location. I live on the North Shore and work in Northbrook. I also love dollar stores! Can't wait for this to open! Now if only we could get a Walmart on the North Shore....
Billy Bob March 30, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Hey, we almost had a Costco until the village "leaders" said "no" because it wasn't in keeping with their image of what Northbrook was or should be. So Costco opened right across the border in Glenview (on land many people mistakenly assume is Northbrook), and so Glenview now gets to enjoy the tax revenues. At least I get to see all our Northbrook friends at the Costco in Glenview!
Kavan Sidhu April 24, 2012 at 07:48 AM
Hell ya, totally needed. Beats driving out to the palwaukee location. That milwaukee willow intersection is pretty busy. So welcome addition. Plus I can bike there if the weather is nice. And the razors (double edge safety) are 6 at cvs and 1 dollar only at dollar tree for 5. Plus just as good as the expensive ones. So def a welcome addition. And for all the naysayers its coming weather you like it or not so either deal with it or move to a town that doesn't have one.

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