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Economic Development

New and exciting developments can be found throughout the Skokie community. From Touhy Avenue, to Downtown Skokie, Dempster Street and at the Westfield Old Orchard Mall, change is in the air.

Business growth is up, vacancies are down and the excitement is contagious, said Tom Thompson, Skokie Economic Development Coordinator. A number of areas throughout the community are experiencing redevelopment, revitalization and resurgence. Building permit activity in Skokie for 2015 continued its robust trend of recent years, and 2016 is on pace to be another record-breaking year!

Downtown Skokie

Residents and visitors are invited to rediscover and enjoy all that Downtown Skokie offers this year following the recent completion of extensive infrastructure and streetscape improvements. The village invested over $9 million of local tax-increment financing (TIF) funds on infrastructure improvements, street paving, new street lighting, sidewalks with paver accents, improved parking, street furniture, enhanced landscaping, signage and more.

Throughout the pedestrian-friendly downtown area visitors will find an eclectic mix of colorful street furniture including bright red Downtown Skokie benches, teal “S” bike racks and yellow accents on bus shelters.

There are currently a total of 19 restaurants in and around Downtown Skokie, thanks in part to the village’s special incentive program to help attract new restaurants to the area.

The unique, upscale Floral Avenue housing development is bringing new families to the Downtown community as new single-family residences are added just blocks from the entertainment, dining and retail Downtown hub. Construction of homes in phase two of the development on the east side of Floral Avenue began in early 2015.

A number of new businesses have opened in Downtown Skokie in the past several years, including Alexander’s Breakfast & Lunch, Edward Jones financial advisor Glen Roter, Kabul House Restaurant, Café Euro Echo, Metro PCS Cellular, North Branch Yoga and El Fuego Mexican Cuisine. A new, two-story walk-up Chase bank is expected to open on Lincoln Avenue in late 2016.

These new star attractions join the many established businesses in the downtown shopping district, including Crafty Beaver, the Village Inn Pizzeria Sports Bar & Grill, Curragh Irish Pub, Margie’s Flowers and Skokie Ace Hardware.

The Skokie Theatre continues to bring a wide variety of quality professional entertainment to Downtown Skokie under the leadership of owners Wendy Kaplan and Wayne Mell of Madkap Productions.

Downtown Skokie will come alive with many events: Skokie Farmers Market, Fourth of July Parade, the Skokie Backlot Bash and more. For information on Downtown Skokie special events, visit www.downtownskokie.org.

Dempster Street

Also known as Illinois Route 58, Dempster Street bisects the village at 8800 North. It is a major thoroughfare carrying commuters from the lakefront to the east, past the O’Hare corridor in the far western suburbs. The Illinois Department of Transportation estimates an average of 35,000 vehicles travel through Skokie on Dempster Street on a daily basis. There is a great diversity of economic activity on Dempster Street, including financial institutions, restaurants, office complexes, religious institutions and independently owned retail specialty shops.

The new Pita Inn opened in June 2015 on the site of the long-vacant former Barnum & Bagel restaurant on Dempster Street. The Boiler Shrimp & Crawfish recently opened at 3445 Dempster St. and offers a fun, unique way to enjoy delicious fresh seafood.

The new 13,125-square-foot Walgreens drug store at the southeast corner of Dempster Street and Crawford Avenue recently marked its successful second year of operations. This state-of-the-art flagship store is a prototype model experimenting with an all-new store design and new customer service experience.

The LEEDS Gold Certified First Bank and Trust facility, Kensington Florals and Events, the Grecian Kitchen Delight Restaurant and the historic Evanston Golf Club are a few examples of why Dempster Street in Skokie is a centerpiece of activity, helping to establish the Village of Skokie as a major economic destination on the North Shore.

Illinois Science + Technology Park

The Illinois Science + Technology Park, a 23.4-acre campus directly adjacent to the new CTA Yellow Line Oakton Station in Downtown Skokie, continues to grow. Forest City Enterprises has repurposed the former corporate headquarters of pharmaceutical giant G.D. Searle in Skokie into a home for a community of scientists, researchers, inventors and innovators. The facility boasts convenient access to Northwestern University and the Midwest’s technology and life science business environment. The park serves a wide range of companies ranging from incubator startups, early commercialization companies, European and Asian branches, and large corporations. The 23-acre master plan calls for up to 2 million square feet of space providing room for a business to expand without impact to research or staff.

Westfield Old Orchard Mall

Westfield Old Orchard transforms a simple trip to the mall into a seasonal shopping experience. With an inviting park-like atmosphere amid 130 specialty retailers, two theaters, and an array of dining choices, Westfield Old Orchard is Chicago’s premier destination to experience four seasons of style. Anchored by Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Nordstrom, the open-air mall offers a variety of retailers, including Apple, Anthropologie, lululemon athletica, Madewell, Sur La Table, Tiffany & Co., Vince Camuto and Zara.

Dining options include something for every taste: Buffalo Wild Wings for the sports fan, Maggiano’s Little Italy, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, Johnny Rockets, Corner Bakery Cafe, as well as a variety of fast-casual restaurants.

A recently completed $10 million renovation is designed to enhance the shopping experience. Elements were added to promote social activities such as the new outdoor children’s play area and The Cube, a glass pavilion that will be used year-round for special events and activations.

Touhy Marketplace

Clark Street Development has redeveloped the 16-acre site at the northwest corner of St. Louis and Touhy avenues known as the Touhy Marketplace. The development features four buildings totaling approximately 195,000 square feet of retail space, including a 150,000-square-foot prototype Super Walmart along with restaurant and additional bank/retail facilities. Exciting additions to the development included M Burger, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Jollibee, The Halal Guys Restaurant and Just Tires.

The former Klein Tools plant at the northwest corner of McCormick Boulevard and Touhy Avenue has been replaced by a new 73,000-square-foot Mariano’s Fresh Market, along with a LongHorn Steakhouse and additional bank/retail facilities. Transforming the eastern corridor of the village, this mixed-use development will also feature unique retailers and restaurants such as Pie Five Pizza Company, Noodles & Company and Starbuck’s.

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