River Oaks Center
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|Location||Calumet City, Illinois, United States|
|Opening date||October 1966|
|Developer||Philip M. Klutznick|
|No. of stores and services||140|
|No. of anchor tenants||2|
|Total retail floor area||1,288,000 square feet (119,659.1 m2) |
|No. of floors||1 plus partial lower level|
River Oaks Center is located at the southeast corner of River Oaks Drive and Torrence Avenue in Calumet City, Illinois. River Oaks Center originally opened in 1966 and was a development of KLC Ventures, a firm that included pioneering developer Philip M. Klutznick and his son Tom. The elder Klutznick had developed Park Forest, Illinois after World War II, as well as Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook in 1959 and Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie in 1956. River Oaks Center is the largest enclosed shopping mall in the south suburbs of Chicago, and the seventh largest in the metropolitan area totaling 1,379,824 square feet (128,190 m2). Today, there are over 140 stores and 2 anchors including J. C. Penney and Macy's. WP Glimcher manages and owns River Oaks Center.
River Oaks originally opened as an outdoor mall with one minor and two major department stores. The original anchors were Marshall Field's, which built a 275,000-square-foot (25,500 m2) store, Sears, and a branch of Edward C. Minas Company, which was based in nearby Hammond, Indiana. Other major stores included a Jewel supermarket and Osco Drug at the south end, and a S. S. Kresge dime store next to Sears. Kresge closed in 1987 and became a movie theater, while the closure of Jewel made way for a McDonald's restaurant and a second theater complex. Many of the stores in the mall in its first 20 years were outposts of Chicago retailers, including Chas A. Stevens, Kroch's and Brentano's, and C.D. Peacock. Carson Pirie Scott took over the Edward C. Minas store in 1982.
In 1985, the mall was expanded when J. C. Penney moved its store from downtown Hammond, Indiana to the northwest portion of the mall's parking lot. A new wing was also built to connect JCPenney to the mall, and a food court was added on the enclosed lower level.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s then owner JMB Corp. of Chicago had several plans to expand and enclose the outdoor mall. These plans included adding a second level and possibly a fifth department store at the end of the southeastern wing of the mall. These plans coincided with Chicago's Lake Calumet Airport which would have been just a few miles north of the mall and would have transformed the area around the mall into an office and business hub. However, these plans never materialized and finally in 1993 JMB began a smaller version of the redevelopment which included additional retail space and enclosing the common areas mall.
In 1994 the redevelopment was completed. The mall was enclosed and 80,000 square feet (7,000 m2) of gross leasable area was added. New retailers opened at the mall and the tenant mix became more upscale bringing in some retailers who had not yet located in the Southern Suburbs. The mall's size was brought up to 1,380,000 square feet (128,000 m2) making it the largest mall in the South Suburbs.
- "Jewel Opening Stores in River Oaks Center". Chicago Tribune. 1966-09-28.
- "Retailers". Chicago Tribune. 1984-03-27.
- "Expansion is on schedule for River Oaks Center". Chicago Tribune. 1985-04-07. pp. 1–C. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- Tweh, Bowdeya (August 27, 2012). "Carson's in River Oaks mall closing". NWI.com. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Keagle, Lauri (February 22, 2013). "Calumet City Sears store slated for June closure". NWI.com. Retrieved August 27, 2015.