The sellers want nine months to move out of the Elgin mall before it closes, and hope to reach an agreement with the property owner, a spokesman said.
Giving the roughly 80 business owners who lease space inside the 308 S. Mclean Blvd. building until the end of August to vacate isn’t enough time, said José Manuel Verástegui, whose family owns a store inside the mall.
The tenants have formed a new corporation, known as Elgin Mall, and will be allowed to stay while they work out a deal.
“We are waiting for a contract. We are in negotiations,” said Verástegui.
The management company notified the businesses last week that the property owner was repossessing the building and that they would have about four weeks to leave.
The property owner, whose name has not been released, has not “indicated what plans he has for the property,” the letter to business owners said. “Elgin Shopping Mall Inc. regrets the owner’s decision as it not only affected the tenant but many sub-tenants.”
Most of the tenants are technically subtenants who had commercial space leases with the management company. The formation of the corporation allows all those with businesses in the building to remain as one entity and negotiate a deal that gives them more time, Verástegui said.
“I am very unhappy,” he said. “There are many lives on pause without knowing what to do or what is going to happen.”
Speaking at a meeting this week, Verastegui told business owners, “We’re not working with management. We don’t have anyone in the middle anymore.”
They must continue to pay their rent and each will have to register their business with the state of Illinois and the city of Elgin, Verástegui said. They will also need to have a certificate of insurance, he said.
Representatives from the Illinois Latino Small Business Partnership and the Northwest Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, were present at the meeting to help with the process.
“We are going to help in any way we can. If you have questions, we are here,” Castro said.
Verástegui emphasized that they must present themselves as one, a message that received applause.
“We have a lot to do,” he said. “We will be the new Elgin Mall legally after August 31st. It’s all of us.”
Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.