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Village of Niles gives Golf Mill Town Center Mall green light to move forward – NBC Chicago

The Niles Village Board of Trustees approved a “historic” agreement during a board meeting Tuesday night to move forward on a $440 million project to redevelop the decades-old Golf Mill Town Center shopping center.

According to a press release, the agreement, which creates a public-private partnership with mall owner Sterling Organization, says the Village of Niles will provide $96 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) incentives to the developer. The developer would then be reimbursed once the multi-phase project is completed, the agreement said.

Niles Mayor George D. Alpogianis previously told NBC Chicago that the plan would not include property tax increases for residents.

“One of Mayor Alpogianis’ demands was to ensure that there is no tax increase for this project and that there is no risk to the taxpayers of Niles,” Village Manager Joe La Margo said in the news release. “I am proud that our staff has achieved this. LaMargo said.

According to the release, the project is “expected to create new businesses and jobs, improve the tax base for Niles schools and the village, and expand the stock of luxury housing in Niles.”

Earlier this month, the village held public open houses and unveiled images of what the project is expected to look like, including completely rebuilt shops, restaurants, luxury apartments — and even a new watermill.

Officials described the redevelopment of the more than 60-year-old shopping center — once anchored by department stores like Sears, Roebuck & Co. – as a ‘renaissance’.

“Over the years, Golf Mill has been known to be more than just a shopping center,” Niles Mayor George D. Alpogianis said in an earlier release. “For generations, families have celebrated traditions there; people of all ages have gathered there and our businesses have thrived there. The redevelopment of the Golf Mill Town Center is a catalyst for a renaissance of the shopping center, surrounding businesses and our village.”

The mall’s online directory shows the center is currently home to 44 stores and restaurants, and an AMC movie theater. According to Alpogianis, the new plan calls for demolishing almost “everything on site” except the mall’s freestanding stores, including JCPenney, Target, Ross, Ulta and Burlington, Alpogianis said.

The redevelopment showcases a vibrant plan that reinvents the mall to become fully outdoor, a throwback to the early days of the mall before it closed. It also includes a three-acre pond and a “mill wheel,” which may be familiar to suburban residents.

“When Golf Mill was originally built, there was an area with water and a stream running through it, and there was a wheel that turned, like a mill,” Alpogianis said. “So they want to put that back in, for nostalgia purposes.”

According to Alpogianis, the plan is intended to make the mall a place to “live, work and play,” with 70% retail and entertainment and 30% luxury housing in the form of apartment buildings, along with office buildings, a pedestrian promenade, medical facilities, a park and possibly a hotel.

Alpogianis did not provide details on how long the two-phase project could last.

“It’s a crazy market right now with interest rates,” he said. “We hope it will happen very soon.”

It’s not the only suburban mall to recently announce major development plans, including luxury apartments. In 2025, Skokie’s Old Orchard Westfield Mall is expected to break ground on 400 luxury apartments and 150,000 square feet of street-level retail, fronted by an outdoor park and event space.

According to Alpogianis, Golf Mill Mall was built in the early 1960s. However, in the early 2000s, downtown began to decline.

MORE: Two suburban Chicago malls will close their doors for good within weeks

“Once it was built, it was considered the premier shopping center in the United States,” Alpogianis said. “Everyone you could imagine was there, shopping-wise.”

The center also once had a venue called the “Mill Run Theater”, which hosted popular acts such as Frank Sinatra, The Jackson 5, George Carlin and the Partridge Family “in the round”.

Alpogianis said when he ran for office in the 2021 election, he promised Niles residents he would restore the mall “back to its heyday.”

“We’re almost there now,” said Alpogianis, who added that the plan would be presented to the village council later this month.

Golf Mill Mall is located in Niles at the intersection of Golf and Milwaukee roads.