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Developer Plans New Downtown For Buffalo Grove

Buffalo Grove

(Credit: Village of Buffalo Grove)

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BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. (CBS) — The northwest suburb of Buffalo Grove is known for subdivisions with large houses and spacious yards, and broad roads lined with strip malls.

But published reports say a brand new downtown could be coming to Buffalo Grove, under a development plan issued this week.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Buffalo Grove Countryside newspaper reported Tuesday that Deerfield developer Charles Malk, president of CRM Properties Group, outlined a development that would replace the existing village government campus at the northwest corner of Buffalo Grove and Lake-Cook roads, as well as part of the Buffalo Grove golf course.

The new downtown would be composed of three condo towers – one of them 10 stories tall and two of them eight stories, along with 323,000 square feet of retail. The condo towers would include 266 units, while the upper floors of the retail and office buildings would have 325 rental units, the Daily Herald reported.

Also planned are 55,000 square feet of restaurants with al fresco dining on 20-foot sidewalks; a 45,000 square-foot movie theater; 66,000 square feet of office space, and 4,500 parking spots, the Countryside reported.

The new development would also call for a brand new village hall, police station and public works building. The existing facilities would be torn down.

Also planned are a three-acre, open green space at the center of the development. And developers would retain nine of the 18 holes at the golf course, the newspaper reported.

The Daily Herald points out that the Buffalo Grove Town Center, at Route 83 and Lake Cook Road, was originally intended to be a downtown. But it ended up materializing as a huge strip mall – featuring a variety of tenants from the Bay Shul synagogue to the Eskape bowling alley and laser tag center – but also blighted by vacant storefronts, the Daily Herald reported.

The $320 development would generate at least $100 million in annual retail sales, and $2 million in sales taxes for Buffalo Grove, village manager Dane Bragg was quoted in the Daily Herald.

But there are issued to be addressed. There is no public transportation to get people to the site, and stormwater management will be an issue since the golf course now on the site is built on a floodplain, the newspaper reported.

Developer Malk’s name may be familiar to Chicagoans. He is also behind the Deerfield Square shopping center, which replaced the midcentury Deerfield Commons in 1998.

Malk is also behind much of the development that propelled the Clybourn Corridor on the edge of Lincoln Park to become a retail hot spot, beginning in the 1990s. In a decision that was controversial at the time, Malk had most of the struggling 1800 Clybourn indoor specialty mall demolished in 1994 and replaced with the current strip mall setup – with only the Goose Island Brewpub and another small section of the old building spared.

Malk’s firm is also behind the Weed Street District, the nightlife hub just off Clybourn Avenue best known for Joe’s bar and nightclubs such as Crobar and Zentra. Malk also developed the Whole Foods complex at 1550 N. Kingsbury St. alongside Goose Island, which replaced an older and smaller Whole Foods on the other side of North Avenue in 2009.