For over a decade, the 26-acre Prairie View Shopping Center at Dempster and Waukegan in Morton Grove has been a run-down eyesore. The Village offered incentives to its long-time owners to redevelop the site to no avail. Last year, the Village fined the owners $150,000 and told them to either sell the property or continue to pay large fines. In September 2018, the owners sold the center to Kensington Development Partners and IM Properties who recognized that while the property was extremely broken, it had extreme potential.
Just six months later, on April 3, 2019, Kensington presented its plans to the Village’s Appearance Commission and on April 4, 2019 to the Traffic Safety Commission to transform the property into a vibrant lifestyle center that will thrive in the online shopping era. All the existing structures except for the Bank of America building will be demolished. The new center will be renamed Sawmill Station, paying tribute to the water-powered sawmill erected in 1841 at Dempster Street and the Chicago River to supply wood for the railroad.
The plans presented for Sawmill Station feature a diverse array of dining and entertainment opportunities including Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, Starbucks, Chipotle, Flix Brewhouse; a nine-theatre cinema with a brewery and restaurant, and an LA Fitness Signature Club. Retail stores will include Kohl’s, Ross, Dollar Tree and a grocery store. The owners are currently in negotiations with several grocers and hope to have a lease with a preferred grocer later this year. Sawmill Station will also include 250 luxury residential apartments overlooking the forest preserves. The synergy of the residential, retail, dining and entertainment venues will create a vibrant destination for Morton Grove and surrounding area.
Mayor DiMaria stated, “Sawmill Station is exactly what our residents want and frankly what they deserve. The new owners have a proven track record for building premier mixed-use developments and attracting highly desired businesses. I appreciate the cooperation and progress made by the owners and our Village staff, Boards and Commissions to get to this point, and I’m optimistic and excited for our future.”
The owners and the Village are currently negotiating a financial assistance agreement to make the $135,000,000 project economically feasible. Village assistance will be provided from new property and sales taxes generated by the new restaurants and stores. The owners will also need to obtain zoning approval for the property. A public hearing before the Village plan commission has been scheduled for Monday, April 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm at Village Hall, 6101 Capulina Avenue, Morton Grove, IL. For more information, contact Ralph Czerwinski, Village Administrator at (847) 470-5220.