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Borders Closing Spurred Plan for Deerbrook Area

When the former Borders and George’s What’s Cooking became medical office buildings, Mayor Rosenthal set Lake Cook Road Corridor action plan in motion.

When the former Borders and George’s What’s Cooking became destined to be medical office buildings, Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal wanted to do something to preserve the retail character of the Village’s Lake Cook Corridor.

The situation was compounded when two large stores at Deerbrook Mall—Best Buy and Wonder!—closed as well. Rosenthal wanted action and asked the Plan Commission to develop a remedy.

Earlier: Village Moves To Strengthen Deerbrook Area

The solution developed by the Plan Commission, if it ultimately becomes an ordinance, will ease the way for retailers to open in south Deerfield and will implement some requirements to mandate retail use like the Village has had downtown for more than 20 years.

When Deerfield decided to limit first floor space in the downtown area to primarily retail uses, Rosenthal, then a Trustee, was a major force behind it. She has made it a mission to do the same for the areas around Lake Cook and Waukegan Roads.

“Around 20 years ago I proposed an idea to have first floor retail space in our downtown,” Rosenthal said. “We put in an ordinance that anything that is not retail (on the first floor) needs a special use.” A special use permit can be given to a business after it makes its case to the Village.

If the unanimous recommendation of the Plan Commission made to the Village Board of Trustees Monday becomes an ordinance, businesses who want to locate at Deerbrook, Cadwell Corners, Deer Park Plaza and other locations in the Lake Cook Corridor will have an easier time.

The proposals will increase the size of a store still needing a special use permit, require a certain amount of retail use and exclude existing locations which do not lend themselves to stores or restaurants, according to the Plan Commission suggestions.

“It will put in place mechanisms for large size retail to come in,” Plan Commissioner Rob Nadler said Tuesday. He helped make the presentation Monday. It will make it easier for a store to open quickly. “It is still flexible for non retailers.”

Now, anyone who wants to open a business containing more than 10,000 square feet needs a special use permit. That number will climb to 30,000 square feet under the new proposal. “A store like T.J. Maxx can go right in because it is less than 30,000 square feet,” Nadler said.

One proposal for Deerbrook Mall renovation calls for T.J. Maxx to move from its current interior location to an outside entrance. Should that go through, the retailer will not need any special permission to move.

Nadler thinks these changes will breed a good retail climate. He is the regional president of Kimco, a real estate investment trust which is the largest owner of community and neighborhood shopping centers in North America. “Most retailers feel it is important to be in a center with other retailers,” he said.

Current businesses like the Brunswick Zone, National Tire and Battery, Joy of the Game and the Sachs Recreation Center will be excluded from the proposed requirements. “Those locations are not conducive to retail,” Village Manager Kent Street said at Monday’s meeting.

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Jon Hall December 19, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Reactionary knee-jerk politics as usual. When did "Great Indoors" go bust? Medical Centers are better than vacant space. An age wave of local residents will come to appreciate having out-patient treatment services available, close at hand. Harriet and the rest of our village trustees and their committees need a business charisma transplant. They have long suffered from business development disorder. If memory serves me correctly, Trustee Robert York led the crusade to remove beauty salons and real estate offices from first floor space in our downtown commercial centers.
Phil Abuster December 19, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I find it odd that the Mayor is patting herself on the back for her part in the ghost town of retail choices better known as Deerfield. Take a drive north, south, east or west of Deerfield and you'll find much better choices and much more aesthetically laid out shopping areas. When our anchor store is TJ Maxx what does that tell you?
RB December 19, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Nearby healthcare facilities are nice to have. The problem is they don't produce sales tax revenue. Empty buildings still pay property tax and there's a chance they will become a sales tax producing establishment. George's and Border's Tax revenue has been lost forever. The Village approach is welcome if it finally results in more viable retail. The horse left the barn years ago.
Jon Hall December 19, 2012 at 03:56 PM
It's not odd. Harriet wasn't exhibiting any positive influence or leadership 20 years ago, unless kissing the south end of Bernie going north counts for something. I seem to recall a movie complex proposal she helped to deep six because of perceived negative traffic impact. Someone needs to explain the difference between retail traffic and street congestion attributable to heads-in-the-sand ignorance and lack of business development skills. Monkey Wards went out. Service Merch went out. General Cinema went out. Deerbrook (and Northbrook Court) has been an unde-rperforming complex for 4 decades, and Nadler, expert that he expounds to be, must be aware of the local retail history. On that basis Cadwell Corner should never have been constructed the way it was...if at all. Nadler's proposed measures will accomplish little beyond professional ego gratification. Forty years of retail hurt are a burden on this village which are not going to be turned around quickly by a collection of windsocks.
Cheryl faigus December 19, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Put in Target or Mariano"s. The wasteland of Lake cook road is so depressing. A restaurant on the outside would also help. Clean it up or I will continue to stay in downtown Highland Park and Skokie blvd. by Trader Joes.
Jon Hall December 19, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Mr. York taught us the lesson that real estate offices and large bank structures occupying large footprints inside of retail districts negatively impacts sales tax. Highland Park seems to have gotten the message. Is there a large bank within the bounds of Port Clinton or their downtown retail street grid? Not aware of any, maybe one. There are something like 10 banks in HP, and they are not interfering with the opportunity to max retail tax from their retail district. Deerfield has Chase sitting in prime retail space where restaurant(s) or shop(s) should be drawing traffic into the square. Chase might have been steered to another site in the village by a more savvy planning commission and board of trustees which appoints them. A few Chase ATMs in the square would have sufficed most retail shoppers' need.
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 19, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Why ......................... does it .............................. take .....................................so long for .................................................these trustees to move on .................................... anything? They ..............................................................work ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... at a ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... glacial ...................... pace. How many years has the Deerbrook area been - not simply showing decline - but been an absolute, full-fledged retail failure? And NOW they change the zoning? I'm with Hall on this one. This is a band-aid solution for an upcoming election.
Jon Hall December 19, 2012 at 04:44 PM
The election is over. You missed it. We're bound by the will of 165 registered voters who participated in the caucus. Appreciate your support. If I run for a trustee spot in two years, will you run for one of the others? (only joking, but you get my point).
Mara Meyer December 19, 2012 at 07:38 PM
How about an independent running against Rosenthal? Write candidates can win! Same is true of the trustees! paperwork may still be filed - so anyone who wants to correct this Village Board please do!
Rich M January 01, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Deerfield, the town that said no to a Portillo's. Absolutely clueless leadership. You want GUARANTEED tax money and traffic? Put a Portillo's/Barnelli's at Deerbrook and a even a Chick-Fil-A (if you personally can get past the anti-gay thing). You won't even need any anchor stores because you'll have tons of cars in the parking lot. But you can still add stores of course. Mariano's is a great idea too, though I heard they want to put one at Dundee and Skokie Blvd. I would love one at Deerbrook. If anyone is unsure of these tenant ideas, go to Vernon Hills and check out Mariano's and Portillo's. Open and shut case. My idea wins. Go get them!
Richard H Heineman Jr January 01, 2013 at 05:21 PM
I believe that Mariano's is being built at Waukegan and Half Day Road on the northeast corner. Dundee and Skokie is the Wal-mart proposal.
RB January 01, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Again, I think the Jewel can stop anything like a Target, Mariano's or WalMart from coming to Deerbrook. Portillo's or another high volume restaurant would be great. Enough with banks. As Villages all around Deerfield get it together after the recession, we are still digging the hole deeper. A new board would be helpful. Thanks for your service, but the current board is behind the times and slow to react much less be proactive about anything. All you hear about is busy work and unnecessary regulation. No creativity. It's a new year...how about a new attitude!
RB January 30, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Has any progress been made at Deerbrook? We've seen CVS open at 41 and Park Ave and Walmart working hard to open in Northbrook. Shopping Centers are again finding investors. What's new with Deerbrook? Now, we've lost Bally's. Can anyone get that WONDER sign taken down and those papered over windows dressed up a little? How about the board making property owners remove old signage?

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