ULI Chicago members recently conducted a Development Dialogue in Aurora, IL to help jumpstart the City’s downtown redevelopment efforts. This technical assistance was provided in partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and as a follow-up to the newly adopted Downtown Master Plan for the City.
Located along the Fox River, Aurora is the second largest city in the State of Illinois with just over 200,000 residents. In addition to historic charm and beautiful architecture, downtown Aurora has many significant assets – its Metra rail commuter station is amongst the busiest in the system and the RiverEdge Park, with its hiking/biking trails and summer concerts, draws over a 100,000 people each summer. Two Brothers Roundhouse, a brewpub restaurant and event space located right next to the Metra station, is another popular attraction. Public infrastructure improvements are starting to encourage private development, and City officials are working hard to identify and support catalytic developments that could transform downtown Aurora into a vibrant, urban center where people can live, work, and play.
ULI Chicago members identified the area around the Metra station as the strongest activity hub in downtown Aurora, and therefore most likely to attract private developers in the near term. As new multi-family residential developments start to come-up on vacant/ underutilized sites bringing more residents and activity downtown, the (re)development potential of sites and buildings across the river is likely to increase. ULI Chicago members recommended focusing initial efforts on prime development sites while continuing to preserve and restore architecturally significant older buildings that help create an authentic, charming downtown environment. A short report with detailed recommendations will be released in the coming weeks.
Our volunteer panel for the Aurora Development Dialogue included:
- Ken Allen, Senior Architect, Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects
- Anastacia Fratto, President, ResElevate
- Lance Ramella, President, Housing Trends, LLC
An integral part of our Technical Assistance Services (TAS) program, Development Dialogues are half-day sessions where 3-4 ULI panelists come together to assist communities/ neighborhoods in their efforts to jump-start (re)development. Learn more about ULI Chicago’s Technical Assistance Services Program.