River Oaks Center can be found at the southeast corner of Torrence Avenue and River Oaks Drive in Calumet City, Illinois. The center was first opened during 1966. It was a KLC Ventures development. This was a company started by the developer, Philip M Klutznick and his son, Tom. Klutznick Sr. was responsible for the development of Park Forest, Illinois shortly after the Second World War, Oakbrook Center in Oakbrook during 1959, as well as Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie during 1956.
River Oaks is the largest enclosed mall in Chicago’s southern suburbs. It is the seventh largest mall in the metropolitan area, measuring 1379824 sq ft or 128190m². As it stands today, the mall houses more than 140 stores, with two anchors, Macy’s and JC Penney. The mall is now owned and managed by the Simon Property Group.
Initially, River Oaks was opened as an outdoor mall, containing two major and a minor department store. The first anchors were Sears, an Edward C Minas Company branch and Marshall Field’s in a 275000ft² (25500m²) store. The other major stores in the center included Osco Drug and Jewel Supermarket at the southern end, with a SS Kresge dime store located next door to Sears. During 1987, the Kresge store was closed and converted to a movie theater. The closure of Jewel made space for a McDonald’s, along with a second theater. Many of the first stores during the initial stores were outposts of retailers in Chicago, such as CD Peacock, Kroch’s & Brentano’s and Chas A Stevens. The Edward C Minas store was taken over by Carson Pirie Scott during 1982.
Last redevelopment was completed during 1994. During the enclosure of the mall, about 80000 ft² (7000 m²) of leasable gross area became available. As the new retailers entered the mall, the mix of tenants became more upper class, including retailers who were new to the Southern Suburbs. The size of the mall was increased to 1380000 ft² (128000 m²), which made it the largest mall in the Southern Suburbs.
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