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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled a new, landmark vision today for Westfield Old Orchard that will create a North Shore destination in Chicagoland, featuring best-in-class retail, modern residences, chef-led dining, entertainment, gourmet markets, and upscale health and wellness amenities.
The development plans also feature a park and event space designed as the center’s focal point and social gathering place. Under a canopy of native trees and plants, paved pathways will wind through lush landscaping and comfortable seating, leading to an open-air plaza where local events, concerts, farmer’s markets, and festivals can take place.
Geoff Mason, executive vice president of operating management and development for URW in the U.S., said in a statement: “Westfield Old Orchard already provides an exceptional experience for our customers, local residents, and our office workers. Our bold new vision for the center will dramatically enhance its offering and further establish it as the preeminent live, work, shop, and play destination on the North Shore. By creatively unlocking the potential of the center, this development will bring new life, energy and choices to Old Orchard and provide experiences that are even more engaging and meaningful for the local community.”
Sustainability will be central to the development, with the project serving as an example of URW’s broader strategy to create unique, sustainable places where people connect through meaningful shared experiences. Innovative, sustainable building strategies that incorporate renewable energy, natural materials, biophilic design, and biodiversity will be introduced, enhancing Old Orchard’s contribution to the environmental, social, and economic vitality of Skokie and the North Shore.
The multi-phase development began earlier this fall with the modernization of the existing shopping center, starting with enhancements to the common areas as well as the opening of a slate of new restaurants, health and wellness amenities, and luxury retailers – including Bloomies, Bloomingdale’s new curated shopping concept – and Louis Vuitton, as well as the return of Barnes & Noble.
Redevelopment at the center will continue in 2023 with the former Lord & Taylor space. It will be completely reimagined and redesigned, offering new luxury home furnishings, fashion, and entertainment options to shoppers. Development of the new residences, eateries, wellness facilities, and outdoor amenities is expected to begin in 2024, and will open in phases starting in 2026.
Mayor George VanDusen said: “For decades, Westfield Old Orchard has been a key economic and employment driver for Skokie and the region. Westfield and URW’s commitment to significantly invest and transform Old Orchard continues both this important economic growth and the Village’s long-standing, collaborative partnership with property ownership. The Village Board’s action earlier this year to designate Old Orchard as one of over 200 Illinois Business Districts has resulted in Westfield’s financial commitment of over $100 million to transform Old Orchard. I applaud Westfield’s focus on sustainability with this new vision, as is consistent with the Village’s recently approved comprehensive Environmental Sustainability Plan. The additional announcements and developments at Old Orchard in the coming year will further strengthen this tremendous community and regional asset.”
More detailed plans for the development will be unveiled in early 2024, and community input will be encouraged.
Mason added: “We are at the very start of this project, but already incredibly excited about working with the Village of Skokie and the local community to take one of the most desirable destinations on the North Shore and enhance it—creating a place that can become the residential, commercial, and cultural heart of the community.”