Naperville's Promenade extending east with new shops
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Downtown Naperville's retail mix is set to get a fresh up shake next fall with J. Crew, Anthropologie, Bluemercury, Hot Mama, Michael Graham Salon and Spa, Frost Gelato and DavidsTea all joining the fray as part of the new Main Street Promenade East development.
A groundbreaking is scheduled for Monday on the $30 million second phase to the Main Street Promenade development. Built by BBM Inc. -- the husband-and-wife development team of Dwight and Ruth Yackley -- the two-story building along the east side of Main Street between Benton and Van Buren avenues will open its shops and offices next fall.
While Hot Mama is moving to a larger space from its current location along Van Buren in the Main Street Promenade, the other stores were chosen to attract new shoppers and stay in the game for the long haul, the developers said.
"It's important to try to get stores that you think will withstand the test of time," Ruth Yackley said. "We feel like it'll drive some new traffic to the downtown because we'll be more of a destination having J. Crew and Anthropologie."
Three years of planning, marketing and recruiting tenants readied the 51,000-square-foot development to be built with only one 5,300-square-foot retail space and one 7,000-square-foot office space left to be leased, Dwight Yackley said. The majority of the second-floor office space will be occupied by a Regus business center that will offer executive suites and conference rooms for rent.
Original plans called for a four-story building with first-floor shops and three levels of offices. Dwight Yackley said ongoing economic pressures made it too difficult to fill all those offices, so he came back to city officials with a smaller design for the promenade's second of three phases.
"We had negotiated leases with retailers that we wanted to honor and get them in, so we scaled it down," he said.
The Yackleys' BBM Inc. bought the property from a bank in 2010 after a previous developer let it fall into foreclosure. It already included a foundation and the Van Buren parking deck along its eastern edge, so designing the project wasn't easy -- even for the masterminds of the Barnes & Noble building at Washington Street and Chicago Avenue and the first phase of the Main Street Promenade, among other commercial developments.
"It was quite a challenge to work with the existing design of the garage," Yackley said.
The location where an elevator shaft juts out westward from the parking garage will align with a lobby for office users. A new elevator will be built closer to Main Street, while the one connected to the parking garage mainly will be used for deliveries, the Yackleys said.
Shops to occupy the first floor will be nestled partly under the existing parking garage, but their storefronts also will extend out toward Main Street.
A service drive for deliveries will be behind the stores but hidden under the existing parking garage.
As construction begins, the city has closed Main Street between Benton and Van Buren avenues and converted Van Buren to a one-way westbound street from the entrance to the parking garage west to Main Street. Main will be rebuilt and realigned as part of the project, and developers are putting $600,000 toward streetscape improvements including an additional row of on-street parking, curbs, sidewalks, benches, landscape planters and trees.
Store operators are scheduled to gain possession of their spaces next June for final build-out, the Yackleys said. After that, how soon the shops open will be up to retailers.
The third phase of the promenade eventually will add another line of shops and offices on the west side of Main Street extending north from the original building to Benton.
"A lot of people are happy to see something happening around the garage and see the 'big gray box' finished with something on the west side," Yackley said. "And we're equally as happy to complete it."
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