Monday, April 23, 2007

Plainfield's Imitation is Bolingbrook's Flattery

I saw the last couple of days that Poag & McEwen are going to build a new lifestyle center in Plainfield anchored by Von Maur. This is an interesting play. The development is between two regional malls, Fox Valley and Louis Joliet. (I refuse, as I think most do, to call them Westfield Shoppingtowns as a matter of principle.) Von Maur is a great store; I liken it to what Marshall Field & Company was, oh, 30 years ago.

At 610,000 sf, this will be like the Forest City's new 715,000 sf Promenade Bolingbrook, but not as good a play in my view. Plainfield has, granted, grown by leaps and bounds the last 10-15 years, as has south Naperville, and the demos must be phenomenal. I would never have imagined or said this growing up (what, with the Old Chicago debacle of the 70s and all that), but, in addition to decent demos, Bolingbrook has the advantages of location in that it is on 355 and near 55, has Ikea across the street and has a Bass Pro Shops going in, all of which make it a destination in and of itself. (Okay, it has Macy's, too, but I am still not over the Federated deal enough to walk into one.) Also, the nearest regional malls (the same two, plus Oakbrook and Yorktown, which is now building a lifestyle component), are not close at hand. I like Von Maur but not enough to fight all the traffic on Route 59 that makes Fox Valley such a miserable place to visit.

I'm not saying this is a bad deal. I think it will do well and that a good mix of tenants should opt to go there. I'll even not be surprised if a few relocate from the morass further north, as regional malls just don't have the power they once had. I just don't think this is the home run that Promenade should be.


Anti-StLouis said...


I have to respectfully disagree with you. The Plainfield development is reaching for the bigger dollars, as the demographics suggest, are much higher than Bolingbrooks. Yes the promenade is nice, but Von Maur is nice, better than Macy's and will capitalize on Chicago's sourness on the Macy's label. The developer of the Plainfield site usually has retsilers like Williams and Sonoma, Coldwater Creek, Pottery Barn, Chico's, and PF Changs along with a rumored Msggisno's. The stores here will be of higher prices and higher dollar households which will help distinguish it from the Promenade who has nice stores, but stores that cater to the everyday joe. Traffic to get to the Plainfield development will be a breeze since numerous east west arterials flow right or near the site.