Glenview officials hope to spur downtown business growth

Restaurants and other businesses are flocking to downtown Glenview in the wake of COVID-19, allowing the village to move closer to its goal of being a premier destination for diners and shoppers, officials said.

Indeed, the Village is actively recruiting businesses to its downtown and, in the coming months, it may enter into a contract with an economic development company to continue attracting new businesses to the northern suburbs.

“A lot of things are happening downtown,” Jeff Brady, Glenview’s community development director, told the village board at its Feb. 20 meeting. “Things are happening everywhere. »

Glenview continues to foster downtown development and at a February 20 village board meeting, Community Development Director Jeff Brady highlighted 5 “Spark Sites” in development or ready to be. – Original credit: Village of Glenview

He said that since the completion of the Glenview Connect process, which gathered feedback from residents on what they want to see happen downtown, and the development of an updated strategic plan for the downtown- city, the village council has continually taken steps to stimulate downtown development. He also said that during the Glenview Connect process, “the community was vocal about what they wanted to see in downtown,” including a greater variety of stores, upscale restaurants and events special.

“It’s very speculative,” Brady said of the redevelopment process. “There can be ten different groups looking at the same site and they know what’s going to happen at any given time, because at the end of the day it takes two parties to agree. One for buying and one for selling.

But he said the village has identified several downtown “Spark sites,” including a section of the 1800 block of Glenview Road, and several restaurants have expressed interest in opening there, and one property has 3 tenant spaces available for sale.

“Any interest that comes in, we send it to the owner as he thinks about what he could do with the sale of this property,” Brady said.

He said other Spark sites include the northern section of the 1700 block of Glenview Avenue and the current owners are evaluating possible redevelopment opportunities for the sale of the property.

“This could include a redevelopment which could take the form of a three-story mixed-use development or an outright sale or a sale to a developer who may seek to rehabilitate existing spaces and beautify what “We call it ‘Shopper Row’ and rent them out. space,” he explained.

The village has also focused on the south end of the 1700 block of Glenview Avenue, he said.

“Over the past year and a half, the village has submitted recommendations and approvals for the redevelopment of this area, which includes significantly expanding the existing downtown parking lot in this area adjacent to the Oil Lamp Theater,” Brady said.

In the neighboring “Chase Bank block,” the village has negotiated a purchase and sale agreement with the owners of the Patio Shop and that sale is expected to close in March, Brady added.

“There have been numerous conversations with Chase Bank to understand how they could proceed with a possible redevelopment of this site,” he said.

The owners of Middy Mags Pizzeria are eyeing downtown space, construction of a mixed-use development at 1850 Glenview Road with 65 apartments and 5,200 square feet of retail is expected to begin this summer and the owners of Glenview House are examining restaurant opportunities as owners of 1320 Waukegan Road, formerly the site of Rummy Thai restaurant, Brady said.

He also said new signage, hanging flower baskets, decorative lighting and wayfinding signs will likely be in place this summer.

“The concept is that you will wrap each of the street light poles with decorative lighting to add extra interest,” he explained. “It’s different than holiday lighting that would come on in the winter.”

Trustee Tim Doron credited Brady and his team with doing the “heavy lifting” required in the redevelopment process.

“We can’t have ‘Las Vegas Boulevard’ with just restaurant, restaurant, restaurant,” he said. “There must be other things there, whether it’s fashion or other things. It’s so important.

Brian L. Cox is a freelance journalist for the Pioneer Press.

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