- Oct 18, 2018
Sweeping changes are in store for Northbrook Court according to preliminary plans recently unveiled by mall owner Brookfield Properties. Working in partnership with Ryan Companies, Brookfield proposes demolishing the current Macy’s at the west end of the mall to pave the way for the construction of an apartment building, a high-end grocery store, open air plaza, and “great lawn” as an entry connection to the indoor shopping center. A new grand entrance will lead into the redevelopment of the mall’s interior featuring a cutting edge food hall on the lower level; on the upper level will be new retail stores, specialty kiosks and a seating area overlooking the exterior lawn space. In addition, improvements to the mall interior include new flooring, lighting, furniture, painting, and other changes which are aimed at a complete mall renovation.
According to Brookfield’s statement, the great lawn is designed to be a new focal point of the center and serve as an amenity to the community. It can be utilized as a gathering place and also host special programming and civic events year round. Plans also call for the great lawn to be flanked by four to five new sit-down restaurants. The proposed 500,000 square foot, 300 unit luxury multi-family residential apartment complex will frame the southern portion of the great lawn. Common areas will include an outdoor pool, outdoor furnished and landscaped courtyard, fitness center, dog run and indoor lounge. Covered indoor parking is proposed with at least one parking spot for each unit. The number of parking stalls for both retail and the apartments is planned to be reduced from its current 4,907 parking stalls to around 4,654.
Speaking before the Board of Trustees during the preliminary review process, Brookfield Properties Sr. VP Adam Tritt commented that the proposal involves an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and would be the first redevelopment of the center since it opened in 1976. “The physical form of the Center hasn’t undergone any substantial changes,” he said. “The time for that substantial change is now,” adding that it is vital to ensure relevancy in a competitive retail landscape.
To advance the project, he explained that developers would be seeking a public- private partnership with the Village, although no details have yet been announced. “It’s too early to talk about the public-private partnership,” commented Village President Sandy Frum, cautioning that the Village has a very limited history with Tax Increment financing (TIF), a public financing method that is sometimes used as a subsidy for redevelopment, and other community-improvement projects. Trustee Jason Han was the only Trustee to voice reservations about any public-private financing.
Trustees reacted enthusiastically to the proposals. “This transformation is exactly what the mall will need in order to succeed going forward,” commented Trustee Karagianis, adding that he looks forward to supporting it and working together with the developer. “It’s important to have a successful Northbrook Court,” commented Trustee Buehler. “People don’t like change but the market is changing dramatically.”
“I welcome the change. The customers have spoken and you guys listened,” added Trustee Israel.
The proposal will be reviewed by the Plan Commission once the formal application is received. Any decisions regarding the public-private partnership will be decided solely by the Village Trustees. For more information visit www.northbrook.il.us.