Metro-East News

Miami-based developer purchases former Toys R Us and Babies R Us buildings in Fairview Heights

Customers react to impending Toys ‘R’ Us closures

The Toys "R" Us location in Fairview Heights will likely close after the company files chapter 7 bankruptcy this week.
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The Toys "R" Us location in Fairview Heights will likely close after the company files chapter 7 bankruptcy this week.

Less than a year after the nation’s top toy-chain closed, a new owner will take over the buildings previously occupied by Toys R Us and Babies R Us in Fairview Heights.

The Miami real estate investment firm, Corbin Holdings, recently purchased the properties on Commerce Lane. Corbin Holdings principal Ajay Dhawan confirmed the acquisition Tuesday, but would not disclose the purchase price.

Soon after the purchase, the company received offers from potential tenants, Dhawan said. Those offers will be considered along with other options.

“Hopefully we can invest in the properties and make them better,” Dhawan said in phone interview Tuesday. “We think Fairview Heights is a wonderful shopping corridor.”

Fairview Heights Economic Development Director Paul Ellis agreed.

“We’re pleased to see these retail properties in primary locations come back into use so quickly,” Ellis said. “And we are working with the new owners and regional brokers to identify and secure new tenants that will enhance Fairview Heights’ strong retail mix.”

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Babies R Us stores across the country, including the one in Fairview Heights, are expected to close as the company goes out of business. AP File Photo

When both stores closed, Ellis didn’t expect them to sit empty for long because the buildings are in a highly-coveted area. Both buildings were by Giraffe Properties LLC, according to St. Clair County property records. Corbin Holdings has purchased 10 former Toys R Us and Babies R US properties around the country.

In 2005, the building were sold for $6.3 million for the Toys R Us property and $3.4 million for the Babies R Us property.

Both Babies R Us and Toys R Us closed in 2018 as a result of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Joseph Bustos, BND reporter, contributed to this article.
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Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.

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