By late spring, West Dundee officials will have a tangible vision for how the Spring Hill Mall campus could evolve in the next decade.
Residential developments, office space and a more walkable environment are among the components that could be included in a conceptual site plan developed by Sizemore Group, Village President Chris Nelson said.
The village board this week unanimously approved a $22,000 agreement with the Atlanta-based firm to explore alternative uses that would complement the property's retail core, he said.
The company's recommendations are expected to serve as a framework for the mall area's redevelopment in the next 10 to 20 years, Nelson said. Those plans and renderings, which will likely be completed by May, could also be used to foster conversations with potential investors.
"We're looking for a very high-level review of what the area could be ... but we are not the developers," Nelson said. "What we are looking to do is cast a mold for the exterior properties so the developers coming in know what our expectations are and know what we feel the area could support."
Hiring Sizemore Group is the next step in revitalizing the mall area, which is in the midst of a $50 million renovation, Nelson said. Mall owner Rouse Properties has already invested about $40 million into redeveloping the former J.C. Penney wing into a Cinemark movie theater, outward-facing retail and a plaza. Constructing free-standing buildings with retail and restaurant space will account for the remaining costs.
West Dundee has agreed to use incremental tax revenues to reimburse Rouse for $7.6 million of that portion of the project. Part of the mall property also falls into Carpentersville, which is contributing $1 million.
Sizemore Group's services take that project a step further by focusing on a long-term vision for the whole area, including the parcels that aren't owned by Rouse, Nelson said.
"I really do think Rouse has a great plan for the existing mall core," he said. "We're looking to design around it to support what they're doing."
West Dundee's deal with the firm includes an analysis of the site; discussions and brainstorming sessions; renderings of a potential plan; and the firm's recommendations for implementation. Input will also be solicited from Rouse and Carpentersville.
The goal is to weave a mix of uses to develop a more campuslike neighborhood environment, Community Development Director Tim Scott said.
"Given the ongoing challenges and dramatic changes of the retail sector, the planning effort is intended to help envision how the mall area could evolve, transform and be vital over time," he said.