ULI Chicago News

ULI Chicago Panel of Experts Issue Report Recommendations for Redevelopment of Winnetka Commercial Districts


For more information, please contact Cynthia McSherry, Executive Director, ULI Chicago, 773-549-4972, info@ulichicago.org

CHICAGO (December 19, 2013) – The Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI Chicago) has released a report outlining short-term and longer-term strategies for reviving three distinct commercial districts in Winnetka: Indian Hill, East/West Elm, and Hubbard Woods. The report also recommends potential uses for key redevelopment sites within the commercial districts.

ULI expert panelists convened in two separate meetings in February and June of this year to address the Village’s commercial health; identify retail opportunities; and offer recommendations for creating a pro-business environment and a stronger partnership between the Village, retailers and owners. In addition, the panel focused on strategies to revitalize Winnetka’s commercial areas while still remaining balanced, economically sustainable, and consistent with existing community character. These included strategies such as streetscape and façade improvements that can be implemented quickly, and longer term strategies such as re-envisioning the Hubbard Woods Park to create greater synergy with the surrounding commercial development.

According to the report “The rich heritage and the small-town feel of its main shopping district sets Winnetka apart from many other suburbs and also puts the Village at the vanguard of another change: a shift in retailing away from strip malls and larger malls, and toward a ‘local’ or ‘main street’ experience.” Another significant part of the changing retail landscape is e-commerce and demographics. “To stay ahead of the competition, online and off, retailers today must create an ‘experience’ for their shoppers”.

As TAP chair John Bucksbaum, CEO, Bucksbaum Retail Properties, LLC, said, “Change brings opportunity. And Winnetka has a wonderful opportunity ahead of it.”

The two Winnetka panels included interviews with residents, business owners and Village staff as well as presentations from other suburban communities addressing the same kinds of retail issues. In addition, a shopper survey was conducted online with almost 500 resident responses to evaluate the shopping districts including shopping habits and future retail opportunities.

ULI Chicago is examining issues of retail development in the face of changing demographics and shopping habits as part of its public policy outreach. Data from several panels, including the Winnetka Commercial Districts TAP, will be used for this analysis. Download a copy of the Winnetka Commercial Districts TAP report

The ULI Chicago Technical Assistance Services program draws upon ULI member expertise to provide creative and practical solutions to land use challenges in communities across the Chicago region and beyond. ULI Chicago’s panel program was started in 2002. For more information visit www.chicago.uli.org

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ULI Chicago (chicago.uli.org), a District Council of the Urban Land Institute organized in 1986, has more than 1,200 members in the Chicago land area. The ULI Chicago Technical Assistance Panel program draws upon ULI member expertise to provide creative and practical solutions to land use challenges in communities across the Chicago region and beyond. ULI Chicago’s TAP program was started in 2002.

The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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