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Container Collective opening at Spring Hill Mall in Carpentersville

An outdoor entertainment venue will be set up in a parking lot at the Spring Hill Mall in Carpentersville, located at the center of a stage and surrounded by large-scale containers for food, beverage and commercial vendor booths.

Owner Corey Kelly said Container Collective Social will be created in the 60,000-square-foot parking lot outside the former Carson’s store.

“It’s definitely something more unique,” said Kelly, who was granted a temporary liquor license for the venture by the Carpentersville Village Board this week. “Great use for a mall. … One of the things we do is bring foot traffic to the mall and promote their business.”

Spring Hill Mall on Route 31 has lost three of its main stores in recent years and now only one Kohl remains. Inside, most of the space is empty.

Kelly said he will install a sound system and plans to host concerts, movies, a food truck festival and themed night events.

“I am open to anyone who contacts me with an idea they have,” he said.

He said that while Container Collective Social doesn’t have a set schedule yet, the plan is to likely start holding events by the end of August and continue until the end of October.

The plan comes as the village of West Dundee is in the process of purchasing two of the mall’s vacant main stores previously used by Macy’s and Sears and is negotiating with mall owner Kohan Retail Investment Group to buy the remainder of the mall. .

Part of the mall is located in West Dundee and the rest is in Carpentersville.

Kelly said she wasn’t deterred by the mall’s uncertain future.

“We’re outside,” he said. “The thing is, when they make a deal, it’s unimportant to us.”

Construction on the site has already begun, and the Carpentersville Village Board has signed the ordinance changes required before Kelly can be granted a temporary liquor license.

The issue was part of the board’s consent agenda and was not initially discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Container Collective Social plans to surround the parking lot of Carson's empty store on the Carpentersville side of Spring Hill Mall.  The containers that form its borders will provide food, drink and shopping space when outdoor entertainment is held here.

However, Spring Hill’s managing director, Trustee Denise Richardson, later admitted that she mistakenly voted for the approval agenda, despite a potential conflict of interest in her approval. When Richardson was appointed to the board of directors earlier this year, he said he would abstain from any vote on the mall.

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Richardson said.

The trustee can request that an item be removed from a consensus agenda so that it can be voted on separately, giving an official the opportunity to abstain. No one on the board wanted that to happen.

Village President John Skillman said he did not believe Richardson’s votes constituted a conflict of interest.

Village Attorney Brad Stewart agreed, saying that the trustees voted for an ordinance change and that nothing directly affected the mall.

If it is later found that there is conflict there, the board may re-vote on the change, he said.

Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.

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