- Apr 22, 2021
The status of Northbrook Court’s redevelopment has been put into question by recent media reports, which assert that the shopping center will be put up for sale. In response to an article in Crain’s Chicago Business, the Village Attorney publicly affirmed that Northbrook has no obligation to provide TIF funding or sales tax rebates unless the previously-proposed construction is substantially completed.
According to Crain’s, unnamed sources maintain that Northbrook Court’s owners led by Brookfield Property Partners LLC have stopped making mortgage payments. The article also states that the lender, Barings, is interviewing brokers to handle a sale of the property. Brookfield’s investment group, which also owns Water Tower Place and Oakbrook Center, reportedly owe around $117M on Northbrook Court.
In 2019, Brookfield received approval for an ambitious redevelopment plan of Northbrook Court, including construction of a 315-unit apartment building, a great lawn with adjoining restaurants, and a supermarket. The Village agreed to support the project with incentives totaling $27M, including tax increment funding (TIF) and a sales tax rebate on sales in excess of those collected in 2017. However, the only part of the project to be completed thus far is the demolition of the former Macy’s store, which closed in 2019. Brookfield opted to “pause” further construction in the wake of the pandemic’s devastating impact on retail business.
At the April 13 Board meeting, Village Attorney Steve Elrod explained that the Village is thoroughly protected in its agreements regarding Northbrook Court’s redevelopment. “We imposed a precondition in the agreement that all of the public improvements must be fully constructed, all of the residential and retail buildings must be substantially complete, and all of the mall renovations must be substantially complete before the Village’s obligation even kicks in,” stated Elrod. He added that the Village has received no notifications of any kind from Brookfield, but affirmed that the redevelopment agreement covers transfers or changes in ownership if necessary.
Village President Sandy Frum agreed with Elrod’s analysis. “None of us liked to see that article in the paper,” she acknowledged, “but I don’t think there was anything in it for us to be concerned about.”
Meanwhile, Northbrook Court remains open and active according to General Manager Brian Lee. “We continue to welcome guests for shopping, dining, and entertainment,” said Lee. “Some new businesses have been added this year, and foot traffic has increased with the reopening of the movie theaters. Our focus is on supporting our tenants and providing guests with a safe, positive experience.”