Chicago Tribune: Zombie malls and other retail centers getting extreme makeovers to keep up with the times

09 April 2024

Robert McCoppin covered Focus and the mall redevelopment trend for the Chicago Tribune.

...“The death of the mall is over-exaggerated,” he said.

At Old Orchard, owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has brought on residential developer Focus to build 400 homes on top of new retail stores. Focus already built 300 apartments at Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills, and 300 units at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, with a second phase under construction.

Developers like malls because they have high visibility, good road access, and existing infrastructure to attract tenants, with support from municipalities looking to replace lost tax revenue. There’s typically less of the not-in-my-backyard opposition found with developments elsewhere, because the sites already have the traffic that comes with commercial uses, and are set back far from current homeowners.

“We can create an urban lifestyle with the walkability of a city,” Focus CEO Tim Anderson said. “We can mix in a medical office, theater, restaurants, and health club, so you create a live-work-play environment.”

Read the full article here.

To learn more about Focus' experience with mall redevelopment as a developer and third party general contractor, please reach out today.

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