Woodfield Mall planning major renovation in 2015

The operator of Woodfield Mall, the suburbs' largest indoor shopping center, will announce renovations to the interior of the Schaumburg shopping center at an invitation-only event Tuesday, Jan. 20, at the mall.

Invitations ask recipients to celebrate the start of “design enhancements” to the shopping mecca and popular tourist destination, stating that artist's renderings and other details will be shared at that time.

Woodfield Mall General Manager David Gott said his company, Simon Property Group, won't be releasing any further information before Jan. 20.

Schaumburg Community Development Director Julie Fitzgerald said formal plans have not yet been submitted, but the village has discussed the anticipated changes with Woodfield representatives.

“It's a major renovation project,” Fitzgerald said. “It's not an addition. It involves the common areas of the mall.”

The renovation is expected to start before the end of the month and be completed before the end of the year, Fitzgerald said. The entire mall will remain open throughout the project.

Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson, who's delivering his 2015 State of the Village address to the Schaumburg Business Association next Tuesday, Jan. 13, said he's asked the community development department to let him see the plans as soon as they're submitted.

Woodfield Mall opened in 1971, and this is far from the first renovation it's undergone.

The most significant was the $110 million expansion 20 years ago that added a new Nordstrom and rebuilt Lord & Taylor as anchor stores as well as about 35 additional specialty retailers.

Further changes more than a decade ago involved dispensing with the original fountain as well as the waterfall and aquarium tanks that looped underneath it.

While there have been many comings and goings among Woodfield's stores and eateries over the past 40 years, there's also a large area of non-retail space. That area served as an ice rink in the 1970s, movie theaters in the 1990s, a short-lived Mars 2112 restaurant in the early 21st century, and the Improv Comedy Club since 2006.

The mall is already expecting another major change this year with the opening in late January or early February of Level 257, a Pac-Man-themed restaurant and entertainment center occupying 40,000 square feet next to Sears. Level 257's several claims to fame will include 16 bowling lanes, providing the only bowling available in Schaumburg.

Also, the neighboring Streets of Woodfield shopping center to the south of Woodfield is in the midst of exterior renovations, including the addition of two 400-square-foot LED signs on the north wall of its parking garage.

And the AMC Loews Streets of Woodfield 20 movie theater is expected to complete a $9 million upgrade to its seating and dining options this year.

COURTESY OF SIMON PROPERTIESDetails of a major renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg are expected to be revealed Jan. 20, just before work begins.
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