BY JENNIFER BAILEY
The first week in March will be a busy week for new retailers opening in Danville.
Ross Dress for Less has set its grand opening for March 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the Village Mall.
Earlier in the week, Kohl’s is expected to open March 3 on North Vermilion Street across from Lowe’s. Kirlin’s Hallmark also is expected to open March 8 in Towne Centre, 2 E. Main St.
There likely will be specials and promotions for Ross Dress for Less, said Village Mall Manager Cindy Compton.
“Hopefully we’ll get some more details,” she said.
Ross is hiring about 50 employees for the store.
Ross offers designer and brand-name fashions at savings for men, women, children and the home. Ross Stores, Inc., headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., operates more than 950 stores across the U.S. and overseas.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer was to talk with Ross officials to extend the incentive agreement for renovations since progress was being made on the store locally.
The initial incentive agreement called for renovations to be complete by Aug. 31, 2012.
As part of the redevelopment agreement with mall owner Tabani Commercial Real Estate Investment and Development, the city will provide up to 50 percent of the home rule sales tax generated by the store for a five-year period. That total shall not exceed 50 percent of the total redevelopment costs.
If local laborers are used, the percentage of home rule sales tax rebate will increase to 75 percent for each of the five years with the previously mentioned limitation.
The tenant also must sign a lease agreement of at least 10 years.
The city sales tax revenue rebate based on the $6 million in sales for Ross Dress For Less would be $135,000 per year, or $675,000 during five years. The incentive provided to the developer: $337,500 if a majority of local labor is not used; or $506,250 if a majority of local labor is used.
Blockbuster likely closing
It appears the city will lose its Blockbuster store at the end of the month when its lease expires.
Dish Network spokeswoman Danielle Johnson said “we’re not able to confirm which stores are closing.” She said 300 Blockbuster stores will be closing in the coming weeks.
A list of the stores hasn’t been publicly announced, Johnson said.
A local store employee at the 2 E. Main St. site said she couldn’t comment.
However, Rhonda Kaplan-Katz, an attorney representing Towne Centre owners Danville Towne Centre LLC, verified that Blockbuster’s lease finishes on Jan. 31.
Kaplan-Katz said a new store is coming to the site.
“The space is leased to a different national tenant,” Kaplan-Katz said.
She could not yet give any details on the new business to come to the space, only saying that Danville doesn’t have the business right now.
Towne Centre also is working to sign leases and fill the empty spaces next to Blockbuster, the former Blimpie’s, and also next to Robert Boyd’s State Farm office.
Blockbuster, which was bought by Dish Network in 2010 after going bankrupt, plans to close about 300 stores and cut about 3,000 jobs, according to Dish spokespersons. The Denver-based video store chain will continue to operate about 500 stores in the United States. The chain closed 500 stores last year.
Some stores are being closed as their leases end, while others are being closed for under-performing, according to Dish spokespersons.
Colorado-based Dish Network in March 2011 bought the then-bankrupt video rental chain for $320 million.
Blockbuster has struggled in recent years to compete with Redbox, a DVD rental and digital streaming service provided by Coinstar, and Netflix, which offers movies and TV shows for digital streaming in addition to its mail order DVD rentals.
Blockbuster has attempted to counter these ventures with on-demand digital streaming services, “Total Access” mail order plans, and Blockbuster Express kiosks.
Founded in 1994, the company once dominated the video rental industry with 3,400 locations nationwide.