The owners of Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills are inviting the public to get a sense of the big changes ahead for the 1970s era shopping center at the Hawthorn 2.0 Fall Kick-Off event Saturday.
The gathering from noon to 2 p.m. will feature food trucks and vendors, games, live music and information about the long-awaited $252 million comprehensive transformation of the 1.3 million-square-foot mall.
Admission is free but preregistration is required at https://bit.ly/3i4qWNh. The first 100 participants will receive a Hawthorn 2.0 swag bag.
Centennial Real Estate, the Dallas-based owner of the mall, is converting the traditional shopping center into a master-planned, mixed-use development officials hope will revive the aging center and create a new sense of place. The Hawthorn 2.0 redevelopment will add new restaurants, retailers, outdoor venues, hundreds of luxury apartments and other features to the mall property at routes 21 and 60.
Work began early this year with the demolition of the former Sears anchor store on the southeast side of the mall. Since then, the building has been removed and the groundwork for what will become a new Main Street-style entry known as Hawthorn Row is ongoing.
Water, sanitary and storm sewers are in place and work on underground gas and electrical service is in progress, according to Mike Atkinson, Vernon Hills' community development director.
Hawthorn Row will include 313 luxury apartments, 83,342 square feet of commercial space, a 12,500-square-foot patio for public entertainment and other activities, and a 570-space parking garage
The foundation for the parking garage is about half done, Atkinson said. When that's complete, pre-stressed concrete panels will be placed to form the enclosure, he added.
Retail and residential construction will follow when the garage enclosure is complete. The retail portion is expected to open next summer followed by the apartments in fall 2022.
Vernon Hills plans to provide $46.5 million in incentives for Hawthorn 2.0, but only as work is completed in a "pay as you" agreement with Centennial.
Elsewhere on the mall property, a Sleep Number bed store being built along Route 60 is expected to be open by the end of September.
The kickoff event will Saturday will take place in the outer parking lot near the AMC Theatres. Visit https://www.shophawthornmall.com/events/ for more information.