News Release: 5/2/2019May 02, 2019Centennial Unveils Transformational ‘Central Park’ Vision for Two Midwest Shopping Centers
Real Estate Investment Firm Re-Invents the Center Court Experience at Illinois’ Hawthorn Mall and Fox Valley Mall as Nature-Inspired Destinations
DALLAS – May 2, 2019 – Centennial, a real estate investment firm with a national portfolio of shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations, announced today a new placemaking concept that will revolutionize the way customers experience the American shopping mall. With significant redevelopments kicking off at two of its Midwest properties - Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, Illinois, and Fox Valley Mall in Aurora/Naperville, Illinois - Centennial has created a unique-to-industry way to transform each property’s dated center court space into a vibrant, exciting, multi-use “central park” environment that will enhance the experience of existing customers and draw new visitors to each mall again and again. With the help of international design firm Stantec and construction services expert Graycor Construction Company, Centennial, a forward-thinking visionary in the shopping center industry, will invest over $12 million to re-imagine the two centers’ 31,115 square feet of underutilized center court space as brand-new outdoor-themed destinations where people will congregate, relax and spend time with one another year-round, no matter the weather.
“When developers purchase shopping centers built several decades ago and work to redevelop them in more modern and engaging ways, they face significant challenges in increasing traffic and adding new tenants,’” says Steven Levin, Centennial’s CEO. “It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario; to increase traffic, you need new retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues. And to attract those new tenants, you need significant foot traffic and strong sales. By creating these engaging, never-before-seen energy anchors, we’re enhancing the relevance of these shopping centers as destinations people want to visit and spend time and money in, and as a result, we’re simultaneously solving both challenges.”
While shopping centers have long provided visitors with gathering places, many of these “center court” and other traditional spaces have simply become places people congregate because they are already at the mall - they’re not destinations in and of themselves. Centennial is turning that concept upside down with a brand-new vision for immersive gathering places that makes these spaces not only a destination, but “the” destination - and another reason people come to the mall.
These new, very open park-like spaces at Hawthorn Mall and Fox Valley Mall will artfully combine green and hardscaped designs with incredible aesthetic appeal to encourage year-round usability. Ringed by restaurants and entertainment options, visitors will think of these spaces as true destinations for their off time, completely distinct and separate from mere resting places at a shopping center.
“Both spaces will be park-like settings, but it’s important to note that each concept was designed specifically for the markets in which each mall resides,” says Whitney Livingston, COO, Projects, Centennial. “While these spaces will absolutely feel like a park with comfortable seating and quiet places to read a book, technology will also play an important role in giving shoppers unique physical and emotional experiences each time they visit. Some ideas we are exploring include projection mapping of soccer balls or butterflies that move so children can ‘chase’ them through the park as well as a modern-day musical version of hopscotch. Each park-like setting will also have an entire program of events from bands to yoga - and each event program will be planned specifically to cater to the wants and needs of the visitors at that specific center.”
The 15,190-square-foot “central park” design for Hawthorn Mall will deliver a sophisticated park-like experience that combines a coffee shop/wine bar with a lush landscape accessorized by engaging lawn games, an interactive water feature and attractive, comfortable soft seating. Two tree-like sculptures will deliver an artistic feel that connects the upper and lower levels of the mall, while two contemporary lounges just above the north and south edges of the park will create an extension of the park on the second level. The existing ceiling will be replaced with a more modern lamella-style ceiling and new avant-garde lighting features.
See renderings for the planned central park space at Hawthorn Mall here: http://ow.ly/Kuu730ovW3B. A fly-through of the proposed changes can also be accessed here: https://youtu.be/z1h1mwWmrCc.