Des Plaines tries to increase visibility of Metropolitan Square

  • Des Plaines is hiring a design firm to look for ways to improve the visibility of Metropolitan Square, the city's downtown mixed-use development, from its entrance on Miner Street.

      Des Plaines is hiring a design firm to look for ways to improve the visibility of Metropolitan Square, the city's downtown mixed-use development, from its entrance on Miner Street. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/7/2014 1:14 PM

Can you find Metropolitan Square in Des Plaines?

City leaders say not enough people can, and that's why they're paying a design firm $33,000 to find ways to spruce up the public space and draw more visitors.

 

The mixed-use development, a collection of retail, restaurant, office and condominium buildings, opened in 2006 as the marquee project in downtown Des Plaines' redevelopment. Today, it's home to the Shop & Save grocery store, Tap House Grill, Panera Bread and Potbelly, but there's still many more vacant storefronts waiting to be filled.

"God knows that whole development needs help," said Alderman Mark Walsten, chairman of the city council's community development committee. "It was kind of doomed from the very start it seems. Of course the crash in the economy made it even worse. But if we can try to entice people to get down there through some creative ideas, I think that's a good idea."

The Lakota Group, which completed the city's downtown streetscape master plan in 2012, will develop conceptual and preliminary designs for the empty 5,870-square-foot, city-owned half circle in the middle of the development, and for the Metropolitan Way entrance from Miner Street that leads to it.

"We've heard a lot of comments that, 'I don't know where to find Metropolitan Square from Miner Street. It doesn't stand out visually,'" said George Sakas, the city's director of community and economic development.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Aldermen who weighed in on the topic during a council meeting Monday night seemed to agree that the development could benefit from increased signage, but disagreed on whether a fountain should be placed in the center of the square.

"With some of the people that frequent the downtown area, I'm not sure that a fountain would work very well. It could end up being a larger attraction to some of these individuals," said Alderman Patricia Haugeberg, whose 1st Ward includes Metropolitan Square. "But I think this is a great idea as far as looking into putting something there that can be family-friendly, that cannot attract people other than the nice families that we want there."

Haugeberg suggested a gazebo could work well in Metropolitan Square, as one did years ago in the downtown area.

Mayor Matt Bogusz said once a potential project is identified, the city would be looking to World Class Capital Group, Metropolitan Square's owners, to share costs.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.