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updated: 4/13/2012 10:38 AM

Main Street Promenade expansion revived

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  • Developers eventually hope to connect the new Main Street Promenade East development in downtown Naperville to the original Promenade on the west side of Main Street, via a pedestrian bridge.

      Developers eventually hope to connect the new Main Street Promenade East development in downtown Naperville to the original Promenade on the west side of Main Street, via a pedestrian bridge.
    Courtesy City of Naperville

  • Construction of this $30 million development on the northeast corner of Benton and Van Buren in downtown Naperville is expected to begin in August.

      Construction of this $30 million development on the northeast corner of Benton and Van Buren in downtown Naperville is expected to begin in August.
    Courtesy City of Naperville

 
 

Developers Dwight and Ruth Yackley are returning to their favorite playground, downtown Naperville, to revive a once-stagnant project they believe will breathe life into the city's commercial and office space markets.

BBM Incorporated, which developed the 127,000-square-foot Main Street Promenade, has revived plans for Main Street Promenade East after a previous private and public partnership went into foreclosure.

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The Yackleys originally planned to only tackle a 66,000-square-foot addition to the original Promenade, but stepped in when foreclosure proceedings began in late 2010 across the street.

"We talked long and hard about this and we decided we needed to get involved to develop that corner," Ruth Yackley said. "We want to ensure that what goes on that corner is the same caliber of what we have already done and what Naperville deserves. It has been a huge undertaking but we felt it was worth it."

Construction of the $30 million, four-story center is set to begin in August. When complete in July 2013, the project is anticipated to add 100,000 square feet of space connected to the Van Buren parking garage. About 33,000 square feet will be first-floor commercial space and the remaining three floors will be office space.

Dwight Yackley said if the exterior shell is complete by July, 2013, tenants will have 90 days to prepare to open in time for holiday sales that October.

While the development is not 100 percent leased, the Yackleys say interest has been high and enough retail and office firms have lease agreements to make them "feel comfortable moving forward."

They would not disclose which retailers are coming but said they will be the same caliber of existing businesses, specifically Cold Water Creek, Hugo's Frog Bar and Fish House and White House Black Market.

"Expect nothing less than the caliber of merchants in the existing Promenade," Ruth Yackley said. "It was very important for us to land stores that will be a destination location and bring more foot traffic for the good of the entire downtown."

Dwight Yackley said the plan to include offices in the mixed-use development will provide the "synergy" of employees shopping and eating and doing a majority of their business in downtown Naperville.

"This is where we live and I like to believe we have a finger on the pulse of what's going on," Dwight Yackley said, noting the couple resides in a condominium directly behind the original Promenade. "And we enjoy investing in our community. This is a big deal. We're spending $30 million that will create construction jobs for the next year and a half and permanent jobs for those employed by our offices and retailers."

When the project is near completion, the Yackleys plan to build an enclosed pedestrian bridge over Main Street that would connect the Van Buren Street parking garage, the new development and the original Promenade.

"It removes the necessity for people to have to trudge down the street in snow or other inclement weather and will increase traffic flow," Ruth Yackley said. "Not everyone will use it all of the time, but when it's snowing or raining, it will be nice to have."

City officials agree the overall plan is consistent with the city's 2030 development plan and have agreed to sell 15,500 square feet under the Van Buren parking garage expansion to BBM Inc. for $200,000. The two have worked out a sales tax sharing agreement worth about $ 2 million.

Dwight Yackley estimates the development will contribute more than $1.5 million in tax revenue, above and beyond the $2 million incentive, over the next 10 years.

Major terms of the agreement were approved by the city council earlier this month. Final approval by the council is expected in the coming weeks.

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