Anchor Restaurant at Merle Hay Mall Set to Close Saturday

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Just days after getting $4.8 million to remodel, Merle Hay Mall has learned an anchor restaurant is closing.

Old Chicago will close for business Saturday after 12 years of serving customers at the mall. It will leave a 12,000 square foot retail hole in the mall.

Last Monday, the Des Moines City Council approved a development agreement to pay for updates to the mall. The city is increasing the mall's annual tax increment financing over the next 12 years to offset the costs.

The mall is looking at the positive side of the closing and finding a new tenant.

Mall owners released a statement saying in part:

"The closing of Old Chicago was by agreement between the mall and the restaurant as it will enable us to redevelop the space and add new tenants to the mall line up."

Channel 13 spoke with a Drake University business professor who says it is part of a nationwide phenomenon of malls, cities and commerce evolving.

"They are in this together, cities and the businesses, and the retail destinations and the retailers in that area are kind of in competition with one another, where are people going to have these experiences," Matthew Mitchell, professor at Drake University said.

Old Chicago has seven other locations throughout Iowa.

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