Aurora's outlet mall appears headed for a significant expansion by the spring of 2015, bolstered this week by a unanimous city council vote to green light zoning and the final conceptual plan.
Under the proposal, Chicago Premium Outlets along I-88 on the city's north side will add 290,000 square feet of retail space, with hopes of breaking ground by May 2014 and completing work the following year.
Les Morris of Simon Property Group said the expansion will add 80 stores to the roughly 120 establishments already operating at the outdoor mall.
He said developers also hope to expand the mall's dining options and add green spaces and a reflecting pool.
The center, which opened in May 2004, currently covers 437,000 square feet.
"It's a great project. We have tenants that want to be there and there's no room now, so we want to expand it," Morris said.
Morris said Simon Property will spend the next one or two months preparing an application for site plan approval, with plan commission hearings expected during the first quarter of 2014.
The new stores will be built on 45 acres the developer is buying just east of the mall at Farnsworth Avenue and Bilter Road that once housed the Sealmaster Bearings plant.
The expansion also will add close to 1,800 parking spaces to the 2,190 already at the shopping center.
Aurora's outlet mall is one of 81 that Simon Property operates worldwide, 65 of which are in the United States.
Morris said the expansion is not related to the August opening of Rosemont's upscale outlet mall.
"This is something that's been in the works for years due to the overwhelming popularity of the Aurora outlet mall," Morris said.