Big changes for Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills are expected to start taking shape, although the complete picture is a few years away.
"What's going to be important is the Sears and Carson's buildings will be leveled eventually," Mayor Roger Byrne said Thursday during the annual GLMV Chamber of Commerce "Ask the Mayors" luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Mundelein.
Dallas-based Centennial Real Estate acquired the two closed anchors and now has control of 65 of the mall's 100 acres, Byrne said.
The company has village approval for three free-standing restaurants along Milwaukee Avenue and is working out next steps in what Byrne said will be a $200 million makeover.
"About three or four years from now, you won't recognize the place. That's good news for everybody," he said.
With a variety of projects ongoing or in the works, all four communities that comprise the chamber -- Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills -- have a busy year ahead, with work ranging from big road projects to planned business expansion and development.
With the exception of Vernon Hills, flood prevention is among the priorities.
Libertyville is finalizing a stormwater master plan, Mayor Terry Weppler reported. The reconstruction of Rockland Road east from Milwaukee Avenue to the Des Plaines River will incorporate an oversized storm sewer, he said.
Inadequately sized sewers contributed to extensive flooding in downtown Mundelein, Mayor Steve Lentz said.
As part of a $10 million project beginning this fall, the village will relocate and create an engineering/public works campus at an existing building and property it acquired at Allanson Road and Tower Road.
The vacated public works property will be swapped for another parcel nearby, Lentz said, where the village will build a large basin to hold stormwater. A developer is marketing the other property for a residential development, he said.
Green Oaks just completed the first drainage project to alleviate flooding and bought property to store stormwater in the Rondout area along Route 176, which is part of a special financing area, Mayor Bernard Wysocki said.
Two senior living facilities with a total of 392 units have been completed on either end of that district. The Green Oaks Business Park is being developed with village financial assistance at the northeast corner of Route 176 and I-94.
Bradley Road will be extended and Route 176 widened at that point, Wysocki said. CIT Trucks LLC, which will add "substantial sales tax to our community" is the first announced tenant, he said.
The village also is proceeding with a $3.3 million project to refurbish more than a third of the village roads. The work is made possible through voter approval of the village's first property tax.
• New train stations at Prairie Crossing and in downtown Libertyville will be open soon in Libertyville. The village also is replacing the Cook Park playground, the busiest in its system.
• Mundelein bought and demolished two properties on Route 45 to open the view of Diamond Lake with plans to build a park on the site in phases over the next few years.