Niles, Sterling, Pace Meet On Golf Mill Redevelopment

JCPenney at the Golf Mill Shopping Center. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)

Niles officials held a meeting on redevelopment plans for Golf Mill Shopping Center through Zoom teleconferencing Aug. 6 with members of the Sterling Organization (Golf Mill’s owners) and Pace suburban bus officials.

In a village newsletter expected to be released today (Wednesday) or Thursday, village officials said preliminary discussions for Golf Mill include “open-air plazas, restaurants, entertainment, multi-family residential development, hotels, medical office, and recreational uses.” Sterling Organization architects are leading master planning efforts for the redevelopment.

The newsletter says Niles Economic Development Director John Melaniphy also “conducted conference calls with several residential developers (regarding Golf Mill redevelopment) including Wingspan, Lynmark Group, Finger Companies, Atlantic Development, Reva Development, DAC Development, and John James Construction.”

Melaniphy said many conceptual plans for the mall’s redevelopment have been discussed and said it is too early in that process to discuss any specific plans, but said Golf Mill Park would be very important to the process.

A rendering showing how expanded parking at an expanded Golf Mill Park could be converted into a carnival, vendor, or food truck space. (Hitchcock Design Group rendering)

Golf Mill Park, located across Church Street from the JCPenney side of Golf Mill, is set to undergo a transformation. Niles purchased property at 9101 Greenwood Ave. and has plans to double the size of Golf Mill Park above ground, adding amenities to the village side of the park while installing massive stormwater detention below ground. The project has an overall budget of $13.4 million, much of which is expected to be offset by state and regional agency loans and grants.

Melaniphy pointed to the development of Heritage Park in Wheeling to the success of the adjacent $100 million mixed-use Wheeling Town Center. Before coming to Niles, Melaniphy was Wheeling’s economic development director.

The Niles Park District was involved in the initial planning for the project but has since pulled out of the project.

“The park district agreed to share the costs of the design of Golf Mill Park, in order to clarify the scope and the cost of the project,” Niles Park District Director Tom Elenz said in an email late last month. “The budget attached to the final design was significant, and the park district and village agreed to look for additional revenue sources to fund the project.”

Pace Suburban Bus Executive Director Rocky Donahue stands alongside one of the new Pulse service buses at the Golf Mill Pace Pulse station as workers finish electrical work on heating and lighting elements in the shelter behind him before a tour with media July 25. 2019. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)

Pace officials said there are no plans to make any changes to their transit terminal which sits between Golf Mill Park and the JCPenney on the south side of Golf Mill, but said planning is in the very preliminary stages. “We’re happy to have a seat at the table,” Pace spokesperson Maggie Daly Skogsbakken told the Journal. She said Niles has always been an excellent partner dealing with expanding transit. The village and Pace partner to operate the Niles Free Bus. Niles officials worked closely with Pace on the recently launched Milwaukee Avenue Pulse Line bus service.

JCPenney is facing bankruptcy but its Golf Mill location has avoided being closed thus far. Melaniphy said he feels positive about bids to take over the JCPenney by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, both national operators of malls and shopping centers.

On the north end of Golf Mill, the Kohl’s store is moving to a new development in Morton Grove. A new Chick Fil A restaurant is planned for an outlot near Golf Road and Milwaukee Avenue near the Kohl’s.

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