Steve & Barry’s LLC, the off-price retailer that was scheduled to open a store in Evanston’s Dempster-Dodge plaza this summer, filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization under federal bankruptcy law today.

The development throws into doubt the plans for the new store, which was seen as key to reviving a plaza that has suffered from high vacancy levels for years.

Work appears to have stopped on the new Steve & Barry’s site in Evanston.

In recent days officials of the shopping center’s owner, Joseph Freed & Co., expressed hope the store would still open within the next couple of months.

As has been the pattern with many Steve & Barry’s store openings, the developer agreed to deeply subsidize the rent on the plaza site and pay much of the cost of refitting the shop for the chain’s use.

In addition the city agreed to provide a partial rebate over time of sales taxes collected at the store to help repay the start-up costs.

But city officials say the agreement was written to provide protections that the city will not owe anything if the store fails to open.

Related story

Sears talks of Steve & Barry’s bailout: reports — AP via Crain’s Chicago Business

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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