How shoppers navigate construction at Woodfield

New businesses come to Woodfield as renovation continues

  • Krimo Kalache of Schaumburg, and his granddaughter Lilly, view from a ramp the construction in the center court area of Woodfield Mall. The $13.9 million renovation is on schedule for completion shortly before the holiday shopping season, mall management says.

      Krimo Kalache of Schaumburg, and his granddaughter Lilly, view from a ramp the construction in the center court area of Woodfield Mall. The $13.9 million renovation is on schedule for completion shortly before the holiday shopping season, mall management says. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Kathy Hamill of Schaumburg, and her grand niece and nephew, check out the construction in the center court area of Woodfield Mall. Mall management says the work has not deterred shoppers.

      Kathy Hamill of Schaumburg, and her grand niece and nephew, check out the construction in the center court area of Woodfield Mall. Mall management says the work has not deterred shoppers. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Kathy Hamill of Schaumburg, and her grand niece and nephew, look at the progress of construction in the center court area of Woodfield Mall. The $13.9 million renovation is on schedule for completion shortly before the holiday shopping season, mall management says.

      Kathy Hamill of Schaumburg, and her grand niece and nephew, look at the progress of construction in the center court area of Woodfield Mall. The $13.9 million renovation is on schedule for completion shortly before the holiday shopping season, mall management says. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Shoppers have been undeterred by the construction inside Woodfield Mall, mall management says. Officials say the $13.9 million project should be complete by mid-November.

      Shoppers have been undeterred by the construction inside Woodfield Mall, mall management says. Officials say the $13.9 million project should be complete by mid-November. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Construction is at its peak on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Despite the mess, mall management says shoppers and tenant continue to flock to the shopping center.

      Construction is at its peak on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Despite the mess, mall management says shoppers and tenant continue to flock to the shopping center. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Construction continues on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Mall management says the work is on schedule to finish before the holiday shopping season.

      Construction continues on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Mall management says the work is on schedule to finish before the holiday shopping season. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Construction continues on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Mall management says the work is on schedule to finish before the holiday shopping season.

      Construction continues on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Mall management says the work is on schedule to finish before the holiday shopping season. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Shoppers have been undeterred by the construction inside Woodfield Mall, mall management says. Officials say the $13.9 million project should be complete by mid-November.

      Shoppers have been undeterred by the construction inside Woodfield Mall, mall management says. Officials say the $13.9 million project should be complete by mid-November. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Woodfield Mall General Manager David Gott said work on the shopping center's $13.9 million facelift remains on schedule and should be done in time for the holidays.

      Woodfield Mall General Manager David Gott said work on the shopping center's $13.9 million facelift remains on schedule and should be done in time for the holidays. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Construction is at its peak on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Despite the mess, mall management says shoppers and tenant continue to flock to the shopping center.

      Construction is at its peak on the $13.9 million renovation of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Despite the mess, mall management says shoppers and tenant continue to flock to the shopping center. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • A PREVIEW OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT: This rendering shows the modern look expected at Woodfield Mall after the renovation's completion.

    A PREVIEW OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT: This rendering shows the modern look expected at Woodfield Mall after the renovation's completion. Courtesy of Simon Properties

 
 
Updated 5/12/2015 9:19 AM

Halfway between holiday shopping seasons, Schaumburg's Woodfield Mall is at the height of construction on its ambitious, $13.9 million renovation.

"This is as destroyed-looking as it's going to get," General Manager David Gott said Monday while overlooking the Grand Canyon-like pit of the mall's center court. "We're ahead in just about every area. It hasn't affected sales one little bit. We've had a nice sales trend."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

With virtually all the loud, heavy work taking place during the night, a typical crowd of midday shoppers takes the construction site in stride -- merely a new visual element at one of the largest indoor shopping centers in the country.

In the course of the work, some knowledge of Woodfield's original 1971 construction was rediscovered -- including that the aquarium which sat just below the center court before its removal 11 years ago might have been the safest place in Cook County to shelter from a tornado, Gott said.

The heavily reinforced concrete walls that contained the aquarium remained after its removal. Their eventual demolition this spring required the most intensive effort of the project, Gott said.

The flow of new tenants to the mall has been as uninterrupted in the midst of renovation as that of shoppers, he added. Recent months have seen the opening of Fly Zone at Kids Foot Locker, Flight 23 at Footaction, Eyebrow Designer 21, rue 21, and the first Illinois location of SIX:02.

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Stores and restaurants that have reopened after their own remodeling projects recently include Vans, Bachrach, Red Robin and Jimmy John's.

Kinfork, a new dining option featuring classic American fare, is expected to open soon.

Gott said it's difficult to say how much the mall's renovation played a part in attracting the new tenants. Mall owner Simon Property Group has talked about the project to prospective tenants since January 2013, but it wasn't publicly announced until January of this year.

Among the key objectives of the project is to improve the visibility of tenants and ease of movement through the mall. The former has been achieved in large part by removing the original brick elements of the interior, while the latter has involved eliminating step-down seating areas and increasing the efficiency of ramps, elevators and escalators.

One of the two existing elevators in the center court is in the process of being replaced while a third is about to be built. Removal of the second existing elevator is likely to be the only part of the project that extends beyond the arrival of Santa's Winter Wonderland in early November, Gott said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While the project seeks to eliminate many of Woodfield's original elements that wouldn't have been designed for a 21st century mall, one feature likely to stay forever is the intricately designed ceiling, Gott said.

With its combination of decorativeness and natural lighting, the ceiling is considered an asset without need of replacement, he said. It was designed by Taubman Co. founder Alfred Taubman, who died last month at the age of 91.

Schaumburg officials consider Woodfield the catalyst of the diversified economy the village has built up over the past 44 years. Even today, the mall generates 22 percent of Schaumburg's annual sales tax revenue -- about $11 million.

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