Yorktown Center officials will show off some of the $20 million in renovations they're making during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday in Lombard.
The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. in the lower level center court, which is one of three areas that have been targeted in the project.
If you goWhat: Yorktown Center ribbon-cutting ceremony
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, May 2
Where: Lower level center court at Yorktown Center, 203 Yorktown Center in Lombard
Why: The center is celebrating $20 million in renovations, which include an improved food court, center court and main entrance. Info: yorktowncenter.com
Representatives from the village and shopping center will be present during the 30-minute ceremony. Afterward, food samplings, live entertainment and giveaways will be available until 1 p.m.
Donna Blair, Yorktown vice president, said a focus group was formed shortly after the center's ownership changed about two years ago. The group included Yorktown customers and people who didn't regularly shop at the mall.
From that group, Yorktown officials were able to determine what improvements the existing customer base wanted and learn what they could do to encourage new people to come to the mall.
Blair said the top suggestion was to have a more comfortable shopping environment with additional family areas.
"Since that time, we've really set about understanding who our customer was," she said.
A new food court, which included the addition of about 300 seats, opened in January, Blair said. It now includes family areas, tables and chairs for children, computers with free Wi-Fi, a family lounge with private nursing rooms and hotel-quality bathrooms.
"We've gotten a lot of really positive feedback from that," she said.
Work on the center court -- including the installation of a fountain, flooring, artistic lighting, additional seating and the elimination or downsizing of columns -- also is complete.
"We found that there was a lot going on in the center court and it was very difficult for customers to see where they were going," Blair said. "We really wanted to open that up and create a clean, friendly environment.
"It's really allowed us to create this great environment that's flexible and can meet the needs of customers as well," she added, noting that a variety of entertainment already has been provided in the new space, from Irish dancers to the Easter Bunny.
Now, the mall is working on a new main entrance adjacent Egg Harbor that will be more inviting to customers, Blair said.
A new brand identity will be integrated into the additional improvements, which include new signs that will help customers navigate the mall, a new drop-off area, updated landscaping, censor doors and new parking lot pavement. The work will continue through the summer.
In addition, two new stores will open in the mall next month: The Gap and Eddie Bauer. Other retailers that are expected to move into the center later this year include Kay Jewelers, Rue 21, Dakota Watch and H&M.
William Heniff, director of community development for the village of Lombard, said the improvements are good both for Yorktown and the village.
"We always want to see continued investment in properties in the village and they are making a significant capital investment that can help sustain its long-term viability in the commercial retail market," he said.
According to Yorktown officials, the last renovation at the center was completed in 2007, when The Shops on Butterfield were added. Complete renovations haven't occurred at the center since 1994.