Landmark Mall to Become Mixed-Use Village

Randhurst Mall was the first enclosed mall in the Chicago Area. Today, developers are replacing the mall with an open-air, mixed-use project with a traditional Main Street-style design.

Blair Kamin explains that this is in some ways an ironic turn of events, because the original architect of the Randhurst Mall was Victor Gruen, whose intention was to create a gathering place not unlike a traditional Main Street:

"Amid the burgeoning postwar sprawl of modest ranch houses and Cape Cods, Gruen reasoned that indoor malls could offer all the features of a traditional downtown, but in a way that better accommodated automobiles and let visitors shop in 72-degree comfort no matter what the weather."

The new design is an "urban-suburban hybrid that combines elements of so-called lifestyle centers, which cluster upscale stores in pedestrian-friendly settings, and so-called power centers, which feature big-box stores fronted by acres of parking lots."

Full Story: Suburbia revised: Confronting shuttered shopping centers and empty big-boxes, developers try turning malls into Main Streets
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Mixed-use?

Early plans from the developer called for 200 apartments to be built above the Main Street shops, which would have given restaurants and theaters a captive market and provided Randhurst Village with a round-the-clock vitality. But the apartments were eliminated because it was determined that they would be too costly to build and therefore too pricey to rent.

So therefore it's not mixed-use. It's going to be a faux "Main Street" surrounded by acres of parking. Not really somewhere I want to walk!

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