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Economic Development

The economy is humming right along in Woodridge and
Downers Grove as a plethora of new businesses choose to locate
along the I-355 and I-88 corridors.

Woodridge

Woodridge sits at the crossroads of opportunity due to its ideal location at the intersection of these two major regional expressways. And judging by the development activity that Woodridge saw during 2016, corporations, residential developers and retailers all agree.

According to Mayor Gina Cunningham, “Woodridge saw significant development activity in 2016, with nearly $90 million in residential and commercial development.”

Cunningham also points out that Woodridge’s vacancy rates in two key sectors are appreciably lower than the Chicago region. The retail vacancy rate in Woodridge is only 8.6 percent, compared to 10.6 percent in the Chicago region and 13.3 percent in DuPage County. Likewise, the office vacancy rate in Woodridge is 14.9 percent, while it is 17.8 percent in the entire East-West Tollway Corridor and it is 18.2 percent in the Chicago region.

In 2016, construction activity began on the final phase of Seven Bridges. Uptown at Seven Bridges, an 80-unit row home development by Pulte Homes Corporation, offers three-story row homes in the heart of the Seven Bridges development along Route 53. Gateway Development Corporation, the new owners of the commercial portion of Seven Bridges, have brought about new opportunities for truly unique mixed-use development – all in Seven Bridges and within the heart of DuPage County.

Woodridge has also seen the start of construction on 500,000 square feet of new office warehouse space that will be complete by the end of 2017.

Skeleton Key Brewery, Woodridge’s first microbrewery, opened last September. It produces and sells beer across the region and operates a “brewery incubator” that provides a hands-on, immersive experience with the actual day-to-day running of a brewery and taproom.

“Skeleton Key’s opening was the direct result of the village’s marketing effort to attract a microbrewery to the community and was a great example of the role that Woodridge plays in facilitation of small business development,” Cunningham said.

Woodridge actively works to support retailers in the village with initiatives like the Shop Local Shop Woodridge, participation in Small Business Saturday, the mayor’s annual business walk, commercial shopping center grant programs and the creation of the Shop Woodridge taskforce to assess business needs.

“Fortunately, Woodridge is in a very strong position with a well-balanced and diverse retail and commercial portfolio,” Cunningham said. “This commitment to business diversity helps to provide economic stability for the community.”

Downers Grove

New businesses continue to come to Downers Grove.
For instance, Burlington Coat Factory will open a new 43,000-square-foot store in the Grove Shopping Center at 75th and Lemont, Grand Appliance and TV opened a 4800-square-foot store last fall in the University Plaza Shopping Center on Butterfield Road and Kirkland’s Home Décor store recently opened in Finley Square on Butterfield Road, according to Michael Cassa, president and CEO of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation.

And they are not alone. Last fall Butterfield Plaza got two new retailers – Tuesday Morning and Skecher’s Shoes – and Packey Webb Ford is currently constructing a new dealership that is twice the size of its previous Downers Grove location. The new dealership, which is expected to open this fall at the corner of Ogden Avenue and Lacey Road, will have space for 815 vehicles, Cassa said.

The village’s second Chipotle Mexican Grill opened last December at the corner of Ogden Avenue and Saratoga and Trio Restaurant and Banquets opened last December at 980 W. 75th St. in the former Bohemian Garden. The 120-unit Lacey Creek Supportive Living has also opened at 4200 Lacey, just off Ogden Avenue.

There are always new businesses locating in the downtown area, too, according to Linda Kunze, executive director of the Downtown Management Corporation. The Evolution Music Store buys and sells musical instruments and offers lessons and practice space. There is a new bridal and formalwear shop called Francia Bridal, on Main Street; The Culinary Tea Shop on Mochel Drive and Mia’s Cantina, a Mexican restaurant, has opened on Curtiss. In addition, a historic building at the intersection of Main and Curtiss streets has been leased by the Vlahos family who owns The Fuller House restaurant in Hinsdale. They plan to open Pierce Tavern in the building during 2018, once their extensive renovations are completed, Kunze said.

In addition, Oakley Home Builders renovated the building at 5216 Main St. and has located their offices on the second floor. Fitness Spenga occupies the first floor.

Kunze is particularly excited, however, by the influx of new residential units in the downtown. Four new multi-family projects are currently underway in the downtown. Marquis on Maple will consist of 55 luxury condominiums. It will open in Summer 2017 at 940 Maple St.

Then there are three apartment complexes under construction. Burlington Station at 5100 Forest will feature 89 luxury apartments and is expected to open in April, 2018. It is being constructed by Holladay Properties on the site of a former bank.

Trammel-Crow is constructing 115 luxury apartments at “Main & Maple” with 3900 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the first floor. It is expected to open in Spring 2018.
Finally, a 20-unit apartment building is being built at Prospect and Rogers.

“We have been encouraging this kind of residential development and now it is happening! We will have places for Millennials and those empty nesters who are looking to downsize. They can easily commute to the City of Chicago (26 minutes) and also enjoy the boutiques, cafes, restaurants and the charm of Downtown Downers Grove,” Kunze said.

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