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Brookfield Previews Northbrook Court Conceptual Plan

After years of behind the scenes discussion and planning, Northbrook Court owner Brookfield Properties offered a vision for the shopping center’s future at the April 25 Village Board meeting. The presentation laid out a 10-year conceptual plan for the entire site, including phased developments for an outdoor retail/dining destination on the northeast side of the property, mixed residential development to the west, and a possible teardown of the existing mall in future years.

The new proposal is a major expansion and reimagining of the redevelopment plans approved in 2019, which encompassed an apartment complex, grocery store, and other retail on the site of the now-demolished Macy’s store and adjoining parking area on the west end of the mall. Those plans were paused in the wake of the pandemic, but the Village has repeatedly extended the development agreement to allow Brookfield to adapt to changes in the retail landscape.

Ben Freeman, Brookfield’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Development, presented maps and artists’ representations of the planned project.  Elements include outdoor dining and gathering places, a variety of multigenerational housing styles, and greenways to support walkability between the residential and retail functions. He noted that, as had been the case in 2018-19, Brookfield would want to pursue a public/private funding partnership for the project, although the amount of money involved has not yet been specified.

Because the presentation was not intended as an official preliminary review, Trustees made no comments or recommendations on the proposal. Village President Kathryn Ciesla described the event as “the start of the conversation.”  Next steps will include open houses and community outreach by Brookfield while Village staff develops a framework for how the new proposal might move forward in light of pre-existing development agreements.

Click here to view a video of the Village Board meeting on the Village website; the Northbrook Court discussion begins 31:00.  Village Manager Cara Pavlicek stated that more information about the conceptual plan will be available on the website by the end of business on Wednesday, April 26.

Other Northbrook Development Notes:

Underpass repairs affect downtown traffic: Construction on the Cherry Lane underpass in May and June will require one-way traffic restrictions near downtown Northbrook. A notice sent to residents stated that the project involves replacement of concrete pavement with asphalt along with new curbs and gutters. Phase 1 of the project, beginning May 8, the northern lane of Cherry will be closed from Meadow Road to Cedar Lane with the southern lane open for eastbound traffic only. When Phase 1 is completed, the northern lane will be open for westbound traffic while work moves to the southern lane. Both lanes are expected to reopen by July 7.

Northbrook seeks public input on zoning code: As it launches the process of re-writing its Zoning Code, the Village has added information on the project to its website and has invited residents and businesses to participate in surveys and community meetings. The goal of the project is to replace the circa-1988 code with a user-friendly document that complements more recent Village plans and priorities. The first community event will be a kickoff open house at Village Hall on Tuesday, May 16 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.