Lincolnshire trustees mull changes for Village Green shopping center
Reviving 'ghost town' of Village Green
Updated: February 25, 2013 2:20AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Hours after sundown, when one of Lincolnshire’s high-potential shopping centers had again turned into what the property owner called a “ghost town,” Mayor Brett Blomberg had a question for the owner’s representative.
“Where the hell have you been?”
The answer that Mike Lotte, director of leasing for Baceline Investments, LLC gave to Blomberg: Working on a variety of plans that could, if they work as expected, turn Village Green back into a busy shopping center.
“The biggest challenge that we have had with Village Green has been visibility,” Lotte told the Village Board at their December meeting. “None of the signs pop out.”
The Village Board is looking at a set of amendments to the Village Green planned unit development agreement that Baceline is requesting. The property owners are asking for the removal of numerous trees along Milwaukee Avenue, larger signs for tenants’ storefronts and permission to bring in more restaurants than the center has ever held before.
Currently, signs over Village Green doors can only be 18 inches tall; Baceline’s request asks for an expansion to 24 inches. It would also replace the trees along Milwaukee with flower beds — Lotte said too many retailers fear that even larger signs cannot be seen from Lincolnshire’s busiest street through all the branches.
Baceline bought the property as it existed in December 2010; Lotte told Blomberg that his group had been studying its weaknesses since that time.
Another focus, Lotte said, would be to bring in as many as six sit-down restaurants; Village Green currently has two. Steve McNellis, Lincolnshire’s community development director, said that if Baceline is able to attract more than four, the property would need a new parking study to ensure that the lots could support a fifth or sixth eatery.
Lotte noted that adding more restaurants would require shuffling existing tenants around; one suggestion would be relocating men’s tailor Robert Vance, Ltd. from 185 N. Milwaukee Ave. to a building by the fountain on Olde Half Day Road. Jack Shniderman, the business’s owner, said last week that Baceline had spoken to him about that idea.
“It’s something that I’m considering,” though Shniderman said he had not made a decision.
The board could vote on the PUD amendments in January. But Blomberg said he still wanted to know why Village Green had been a ghost town for this long, while across the street, the Vernon Hills Town Center thrives. He said the trustees had approved some landscaping and lighting changes two years ago, which Baceline had not acted on.
“It’s frustrating on our end, because we want to get this going,” he said.
Lotte said his company needed to have the right combination of amendments in place before deepening its investment.
“I’m not going to spend money to modify until I’m completely full,” he said.