NORMAL — A low-price clothing retailer could be coming to the former Dick's Sporting Goods store in Normal.
Ross Dress for Less, an outlet store with locations throughout Illinois, including Champaign and Peoria, is named as the tenant coming to that space in a document provided by the town of Normal.
The document is a schedule of project expenses for owner Phillips Edison and Company to improve two connected shopping centers that include Fresh Market and Petco. It lists Ross Dress for Less as a tenant to receive $1 million in improvements.
That's the same amount Phillips Edison officials said the company will spend on the former Dick's space, and there's currently no Ross Dress for Less there — or anywhere else in Bloomington-Normal.
Officials avoided naming the retailer while discussing it Monday. Phillips Edison declined Tuesday to confirm or deny that it's Ross Dress for Less, and the retailer did not respond to a request for comment.
The chain's website, rossstores.com, refers to Ross Dress for Less as "the nation’s largest off-price retail chain."
"We work directly with manufacturers to negotiate the best deals. ... We love new buys — we keep it simple so we can get the great buys into our stores quickly, which means almost every day," according to the site. "We believe in 'no frills'— no window displays, mannequins, fancy fixtures or decorations in our stores, so we can pass more savings on to our customers."
The eventual tenant is set to open next fall or the following spring, said Scott Adair, vice president of community partnerships for Phillips Edison, Tuesday.
"This, in part, will depend on how quickly the permitting and plan review process can be concluded," he said.
The Normal City Council approved Monday night an $800,000 sales tax rebate for Phillips Edison, which plans to spend a total of $4 million on improvements. That deal is expected to bring at least three new businesses to the center.
Two of those will be where Office Depot and Shoe Carnival are now; those businesses will stay open but downsize their spaces.
"We are actively engaged in discussions with numerous national credit retailers for the site. We have a multitude of relationships with retailers and are actively pursuing all opportunities," Adair said of what type of businesses will use those spaces. "(When they will open) is yet to be determined."
The company will receive 0.5 percent of sales from the new retailers through the sales tax for 10 years, estimated at $800,000; the town is expected to receive $4.6 million in new sales tax revenue from the deal.
The company also plans to install two "pad sites," smaller retail spaces in the center's parking lots.
"We are actively marketing two pad sites. No firm proposals yet. But, as indicated above, we are reaching out to our retail contacts about these opportunities," said Adair. "If anyone in the community is interested in one of the pad sites, they may contact Greg Clough, vice president of redevelopment."
The former Dick's has been empty for more than a year since the company moved its local store to Empire Crossing in Bloomington. The city agreed to pay Empire Crossing owner BT Bloomington LLC up to $4 million in tax increment financing and sales tax revenues to do a $10 million renovation of the shopping center at Empire Street and Veterans Parkway.