Shoppes on Bower Hill Finally Coming Down
It's been a slow and painful death for the shopping center that had everything.
We all knew this day was coming.
For more than seven years, the Shoppes on Bower Hill were hanging on by a thread, waiting for Judgment Day by the corporate suits at Walgreen’s and municipal zoning workers to give the goahead.
The only thing keeping the shopping center on life-support, it seemed, was the last holdout of Chicago’s Pizzeria, which kept its lease active until it finally closed for good in March. It also appeared to become a cheap and convenient parking lot for patients at nearby St. Clair Hospital.
After years of waiting and wondering, we finally know when something is going into that prime piece of real estate at North Wren and Bower Hill. Scott Township officials said a new Walgreen’s most likely will be built there by late July.
The bulldozers and backhoes are moving in and are expected to tear down the long shopping center this week. Workers have been there the past few weeks removing equipment, furniture and asbestos in preparation for the demolition.
And that’s sad to see for someone who grew up a half-mile from the shopping center. While going to nearby Hoover Elementary, we felt like big kids walking up to Chicago’s during our school’s lunch break and throwing down a few bucks on pizza rather than eating whatever came in our brown bag.
I remember grocery shopping with my mother at The Food Gallery and poking fun at friends who spent their weekends bagging groceries inside. Just a few doors up, I opened my first savings account in the Integra Bank, and often grabbed a Chinese meal at Silk Road.
And, of course, there was Network Video. We didn’t have a Blockbuster anywhere nearby, so that’s where we rented our flicks or checked out the hottest new Nintendo video games. Or we threw a quarter or two into the gumball machine in hopes one would roll out wrapped in tin foil, giving us a free rental.
It has been a slow and painful death for a shopping center that used to be vital to the community.
That shopping center had everything a neighborhood could want. And sadly it’s being replaced with a homogenized corporate pharmacy that has only a fraction of the amenities that made the Shoppes on Bower Hill so special.