Finding New Uses for Old Big Box Stores

By: Jessica Geraci
By: Jessica Geraci

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – After nearly 25 years in business, the American TV and Appliance store in Rockford is closed for good, leaving the city with yet another empty big box store.

One of the biggest problems the city faces with these 10,000 square foot (plus) stores is they can’t always be stores again since the demand isn’t there. That means groups like the Rockford Area Economic Development Council have to try and find uses that aren’t retail.

We’re told in our area a few spots have been converted into call centers. The Menards in Machesney Park was eyed for a new industrial use, but that didn’t work out because the floors weren’t thick enough. Little details like that affect the redevelopment potential of a space. While more online shopping hurts stores, there are more opportunities to convert larger vacant spots into warehouses.

While it may feel like every old box store is empty, there are some success stories. The old Eagle on Riverside and Mulford in Rockford was converted into Rockford Orthopedic Associates’ newest clinic. Rosecrance is also moving their Ware Center from downtown into another former Eagle store on North Main Street in Rockford.

American TV has not announced how they will handle the sale of their Rockford location. Even though American is closed, the store is still open for a few more weeks. Another company has stepped in to sell off any remaining office furniture, shelving, and other fixtures.

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