The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

‘Hawthorn 2.0’ coming soon

Hawthorn Mall renovation is expected to finish in the next few years
Callie Steele
The development team is planning for Hawthorn Row to be an outdoor shopping strip under The Domaine. Stores are expected to open in the fall of 2024.

The Hawthorn Mall renovation, also known as Hawthorn 2.0, is planned to be finished in the next few years. The renovation has been split into different phases, and phase one is expected to be completed and open by the end of 2024. Shoppers should expect to see Free People Movement, Anthropologie, and more opening up in Hawthorn Row.

The motivation behind Hawthorn 2.0 

In 2015, Centennial, a retail real estate development company, bought the Hawthorn Mall property from Westfield. Jeff Rutzen, general manager of Hawthorn, and other employees were intrigued with Westfield’s mall when they incorporated Dave & Busters, Maggiano’s, and AMC in 2018.

“It’s no longer [just] about shopping. It’s about shopping, dining, play and residential components,” Rutzen said.

Once Centennial saw the boom of the public’s interest in Hawthorn after implementing the new entertainment, they decided to keep going with the renovation, according to Rutzen. That is how the idea of “Hawthorn 2.0” was born.

Rutzen explained that Centennial has been wanting to add features to the mall that would make residents plan for a day trip at Hawthorn.

“If you’re taking a trip to the city, you’re obviously doing a lot of things, [so] we want to create that here. We want to create the downtown environment,” Rutzen said.

What students want 

According to a TSP survey taken by 49 VHHS students, the top three stores that people want to see come to Hawthorn Mall are Lululemon, Aerie/American Eagle, and PacSun.

Edi Krumov (12) has been looking forward to the Hawthorn renovation project ever since he found out about it. Some of the stores he would like to see are PacSun, Uniqlo, Urban Outfitters, and Alo.

“Before [the renovation] I’d probably go every weekend or every other weekend, and when the new one opens, I’m probably going to go every day,” Krumov said.

Krumov believes that having part of the mall outdoors will make Hawthorn stand out like some of his other favorite malls in Illinois.

“Old Orchard is my favorite mall, and if this mall looks like the Old Orchard mall, then I’m going to be blessed,” Krumov said.

The Domaine  

The Domaine is an apartment complex located above Hawthorn Row developed by Focus and Atlantic Residential. They are also developers of The Atworth, apartments located in Mellody Farms.

Centennial wanted to add a residential component to Hawthorn in order to attract more people to shop in Vernon Hills.

“We are trying to create this environment where people who live in The Domaine apartments will have everything they need right at their fingertips,” Rutzen said.

Vic Howell, senior development manager of Focus, shared that their company has been receiving great reviews from residents living in The Domaine, along with comments on how the amenities give the apartments a ‘resort-like’ feeling.

“The first big space you [walk into] is a club room with a big circular fireplace, [which is] a double height space that looks out onto the courtyard with the pool, and an area with a TV and another fireplace,” Howell explained. “You can see our conference rooms on one side, a kitchen [on another side], [and] you can see the game room on the second floor.”

As seen on The Domaine website, prices for renting the apartments range from $1,800 to $5,000 per month, depending on the floor plan. Several factors are considered when it comes to deciding on a monthly rental cost for each apartment.

“Inflation is one of the biggest [factors], generally things are including construction costs, cost for land, [and] cost for lenders,” Howell said.

Howell shared that The Domaine has reached 60% leased and 50% occupied as of February this year. Focus and Atlantic Residential are hoping to have the apartments reach 100% capacity over the course of the next seven months.

The impact on Vernon Hills

The overall cost of the renovation is about $350 million, according to Kevin Timony, the village manager of Vernon Hills. Timony says that he and the rest of the village staff believe that the renovation will majorly impact sales tax in a positive way.

“What we’re hoping for from the mall redevelopment is an increase of retailers that will then increase our sales tax revenue, so it should have a positive impact on our residents and businesses,” Timony said.

As more people begin to move into Vernon Hills, the village has been figuring out different ways to keep a consistent flow, while avoiding over-population.

“We go through a process of making sure we study traffic impact, [because] we want to make sure our roads can handle the extra capacity with more people living at the mall,” Timony said. “We work with our school districts to make sure that if there are students being generated by new housing, that there is a mechanism to help offset that cost for our taxing bodies.”

Timony believes that Vernon Hills should expect a positive outcome with the idea of “Hawthorn 2.0”.

“We’re hoping that this [renovation] gives a second life to the mall,” Timony said.