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After the JC Penney store closes its doors — which is expected to happen by April 30 — the new owners Learsi & Co. Inc. plan to redevelop the space and lease the property to three to four new tenants, said David Israel, president of Learsi & Co. JC Penney sold the store, 5900 Durand Ave., to Learsi & Co. in November for $2.5 million. Israel is actively marketing the space on the first floor as retail space and plans to lease out the second floor as back office space. If all goes well, he hopes to start construction in May, he said. “I think it’s a great corner, or as close to a hard corner as you can get on Durand Avenue and Green Bay Road. I think it’s the best property in Racine,” Israel said. Depending on what type of tenant Israel is able to get into the space, Israel expects to have the space open again to the public within three to nine months as the retail spaces will have an outside entrance so that the tenants can have outdoor accessibility. Excited about the project, he hopes to have the spaces leased within the next 60 to 90 days and expects the project will reinvigorate the corner. “I think that will make a difference,” Israel said. “Being on a hard corner like that gets more attention as customers want to walk in, get what they need and walk out. It’s a much faster pace.” Jim Ladwig, executive director of Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce, said the concept is great. “When you look at where the market is going — people like shopping spaces where the stores are stand alone stores versus walking through common spaces,” he said.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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