Written by: Kevin Beese
More than 2,400 square feet of green space, a fire pit and a permanent band shell are all planned improvements to the common area at Burr Ridge’s Village Center.
The revamp, which will pour an estimated $2 million into the shopping and condominium complex, will include eliminating the traffic circle at the north end of the plaza. The first phase of work is to be completed by mid-November, before the holiday-shopping season begins. Additional green space work will be completed in the spring.
Village Board members Monday gave the proposed renovations unanimous support by approving sought-after changes to the ordinance governing the planned unit development.
“I look forward to the changes,” said Trustee Tony Schiappa. “I hope the changes bring more people and more retail businesses, and make the Village Center a more vibrant place.”
Representatives of Trademark Properties, the firm leading the Village Center revamp, contend that by making more of a welcoming environment on the village green, people are more likely to stay longer in the plaza, make purchases and visit the plaza more frequently. It is also hoped to boost retail tenants on the north side of the retail strip.
Weston Graves of Trademark said there are still “several moving pieces” to the plan, including where to relocate the burr oak statue near the traffic circle. One possibility is locating the statue at one of the center’s entrances.
“With these changes we feel people will spend more time in the center, be there longer,” Graves said. “The thought is if they are there longer, they will do shopping.”
The plan is for the band shell and fire pit to anchor opposite ends of the village green, which will increase in size from 6,459 square feet to 8,858 square feet. Plantings in the village green area will almost double, going from 4,226 square feet to 7,923 square feet.
Bob Grela, a member of the village’s Plan Commission, which unanimously approved the project after Trademark agreed to lessen proposed signs, as big as 28 feet in some cases, to 12 feet, noted the plan has Village Center residents’ support. He said the Village Center condominium association president on three different occasions recommended Plan Commission approval of the project.
“Let’s hope this plan B will be functional for the plaza and not require plans C, D or anything else,” Grela said. “I hope this is the restart that the Village Center needs.”
Trademark officials note that the Burr Ridge Village Center was derailed due to the economic downturn.
“Space wasn’t leased, customers weren’t attracted and as a result the sales volume of retailers in the center is below average,” the company’s plan for Village Center improvements states.