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New retail business in the works

Long-vacant former Walgreens being bought, renovated, officials say

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(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
The former Walgreens building at 1000 First Ave. in Rock Falls, vacant for 10 years, is being bought and the new owners plan a retail outlet, said Sandy Henrekin, executive director of the Rock Falls Community Development Corp., She declined to say what type of business is planned, but said the new owners likely will release information in the spring.

ROCK FALLS – A Chicago-based property management company is bringing a new retail business to town, officials say.

The former Walgreens building at 1000 First Ave. has been vacant for 10 years, said Sandy Henrekin, executive director of Rock Falls Community Development Corp., which “helped facilitate” the deal with A.R.E. Partners and the future business owner.

A spokeswoman for A.R.E. Partners said because the deal is under contract, the company could not disclose who the business owner is or what type of store is planned.

The building was foreclosed upon and moved from bank to bank before A.R.E. Partners stepped in. “They’ve had it for 2 years, trying to work through the liquidation process,” Henrekin said.

A portion of the building was condemned. It cannot be occupied until it is repaired, City Building Inspector Mark Searing said.

“It went into foreclosure some time ago,” Searing said. “The condition went bad on the unoccupied portion. During foreclosure, the bank took ownership of it. They didn’t do a whole lot.”

But the new owner is “anxious to get a permit to bring it back up to code,” he said.

Henrekin said she expects the new business owner will reveal more information in the spring. She also declined to elaborate on what type of retail business is planned.

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