LITTLE VILLAGE — Discount Mall vendors have been given an extension on their leases until January and plan to meet with the mall’s owner for the first time in more than two years, its owner and an area alderman said.
The mall’s future has been in question since 2020, when development company Novak Construction bought the site at 3045-3117 W. 26th St. and suggested it might not be the best use of the area.
Vendors recently said they hadn’t received any information about the owner’s plans for the mall, even as half of the small business owners’ contracts were set to expire this week. But Novak Construction extended the vendors’ contracts through the end of January, a spokesperson announced late last week.
Community members and local officials have long said the Discount Mall is a vital piece of culture for the historically Mexican neighborhood. Little Village is known as “Mexico of the Midwest,” and 26th Street is the the highest-grossing shopping hub in the city after Michigan Avenue.
Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said he’s glad the vendors have been given additional time to negotiate with Novak and ensure none of the small businesses owners are displaced.
“Novak has accepted to meet, which I think is a good first step,” he said.
Sigcho-Lopez also said he wants to make sure customers know the Discount Mall is still open for business.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Novak Construction said the company plans to make “substantial improvements” to the property, including putting up a new facade and roof and better parking.
“These investments will make a big difference on that stretch of 26th Street,” the statement read. “Novak expects the work to start next year. Our company has been recognized for its service to the communities in which Novak does business, and is active in civic endeavors to improve quality of life for families in Chicago.”
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