The final approvals for a package of major renovations at Westfield Hawthorn shopping center in Vernon Hills are on the books.
Entry signs on Route 60 and Milwaukee Avenue, as well as directional signs on the property, were the last details for what has been an ongoing $50 million expansion and renovation.
Village officials Tuesday approved the ordinances that will allow for new signs, including two prominent ones featuring LED panels, that vary substantially from village code requirements. The approvals also came with several conditions involving advertising and other aspects of the entry signs that are expected to make passers-by take notice.
"Brighter, bolder, more information," Village Manager John Kalmar said of the sign changes.
Work is expected to begin nearly immediately and be complete by May 1, the scheduled opening of the 1,200-seat AMC Theatre.
The new directional signs will replace the dated versions that have been in place for years and be part of an overall modernization.
The entry signs, known as LED media pylon signs, are another matter. They'll stand nearly 40 feet compared to the maximum permitted height of 8 feet, and each sign face will be 739 square feet rather than the maximum permitted size of 50 feet.
Those signs also will feature automatic changing copy on each panel that otherwise is not permitted. Messages cannot change more often than every 10 seconds, and video, motion and flashing graphics will not be permitted.
Details involving the signs were hashed out during the past year. One of the main conditions required by the village is that advertising on the panels be limited to products and services offered at the shopping center. A statement to be displayed at each entry sign must note that goods and services advertised on the panel can be purchased at the mall.
The agreement also calls for Westfield to provide the village with 720 10-second slides each year to advertise community events. It must also make the panel available for messages in the event of a public emergency.
Trustees also approved a new design for six site and four traffic directional signs. Kalmar said the sign changes were part of the overall development package and not directly linked to village incentives toward the work,
Westfield will receive sales tax rebates from the village of nearly $13 million during 10 years as part of an agreement that can be extended.
Village officials increased the sales tax rate by a quarter-percent to recover the rebate, estimated at $1.2 million per year.