From being named Google’s eCity of the State of Illinois, to the long-awaited completion of Oakbrook Center, and several new business and retail developments, 2013 was a great year for Oak Brook, Illinois. The Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership recently provided the following highlights.
Oak Brook wins Google’s Illinois 2013 eCity award
Google named Oak Brook as the 2013 eCity for the State of Illinois. The annual award is given to the strongest online business community in each state and is a recognition of Oak Brook’s state-of-the-art technology but, more significantly, of local companies’ innovation and utilization of the web to conduct business. This award essentially acknowledged that Oak Brook is a leader in the digital economy and one of the “digital capitals” of the United States.
“Oak Brook’s growth and innovation in e-commerce is an example that other cities across the state can strive to replicate,” said Scott Levitan, Director of Small Business Engagement at Google. “Google is proud to recognize this growing entrepreneurial spirit and the role it plays in creating jobs and sustaining local economies.”
“The Village of Oak Brook was excited to learn that Google is recognizing what many businesses already know, that Oak Brook is a great place to work, live, play and do business,” said Village President Gopal G. Lalmalani.
Oakbrook Center Renovation Completed
General Growth Properties, Inc. completed a two-year renovation of Oakbrook Center in November 2013. Improvements include new walkways, signs, landscaping enhancements, redesigned common areas and outdoor seating, and the addition of new retailers, restaurants and amenities. A new all-weather vortex fountain that combines a water display with lighting effects, glowing fire totems and a glass pavilion with a warming fireplace and café seating in the summer months add to the new look and feel of the shopping center. Oakbrook Center will now also feature a “Village Green,” which is an open lawn area that will be used for special events. Other new amenities include Wi-Fi and same day delivery for shoppers.
During the two-year renovation, Oakbrook Center continued to add new retailers. Some of the stores and restaurants that debuted or relocated during the redesign project include Aritzia, BOSS Hugo Boss, Brighton Collectibles, Clarks, Forever 21, Guess, Henri Bendel, kate spade new york, lululemon athletica, Madewell, Old Town Pour House, PBteen, Peek, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Tommy Bahama and West Elm. Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus also completed extensive interior improvements.
Next year, Oakbrook Center will welcome new tenants that include the Container Store, Le Méridien hotel, Zara and PIRCH.
New Le Méridien Hotel
Le Méridien, a hotel brand that originated in Paris, France and was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., will open its first Chicagoland hotel in Oak Brook. Le Méridien has close to 100 properties in more than 40 countries in its portfolio. The Oak Brook property will debut its $20 million transformation in April 2014. Indoor spaces and the exterior of the building have been redesigned and the hotel will offer 172 guestrooms and suites, 2 spa suites, a fitness center, event space of 3,500 square feet and a roof top terrace with spectacular views. A 9th floor full service restaurant and a signature bar will add to the amenities of the hotel and the area. In addition, the uniquely Le Meridien Hub™ experience will offer a social gathering place with curated artwork instead of a hotel lobby. Accomplished hotelier, Simon A. Fricker, was appointed General Manager and brings global expertise to Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook.
Molina Healthcare, a leader in the healthcare industry that specializes in providing quality health care to vulnerable individuals, recently chose Oak Brook for its corporate campus because of its excellent location and amenities. The company leased 37,000 square feet at the Crossings building and will employ 150 staff in Oak Brook.
Technology Center in Oak Brook Sold
800 and 810 Jorie Blvd. in Oak Brook, Ill., the Oak Brook Technology Center, were purchased by Server Farm for $16,250,000. Server Farm is a leading data center developer with a portfolio of 1.5M square feet of data center space in North America. The two Oak Brook buildings with combined space of 194,178-square-foot are 66 percent leased and tenants include XO Communications, NaviSite, Zayo and US Signal.
“Oak Brook Technology Center drew very strong interest from data center investors,” said Gary Nussbaum, managing director of Transwestern, the brokerage firm representing the seller. “The property offers access to an enormous quantity of fiber, communications providers and electrical service which meet the demands of a first class data center facility.”
New Restaurants in Oak Brook
Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, an award-winning steakhouse, opened an 11,000-square-foot location in Oak Brook, Illinois on November 8, 2013. Perry’s Steakhouse is located at Oakbrook Center and accommodates 350 guests. The interior features a main dining space with impressive wine wall, five private dining rooms, an island bar and an outdoor patio.
“We’re excited to call Chicago home,” said Chris Perry, founder and owner of Perry’s restaurants. “Our mission is to provide an experience that is both Rare and Well Done, and we look forward to serving this community.”
Old Town Pour House
In 2013, Old Town Pour House also located at Oakbrook Center. This is their second Chicagoland restaurant and it offers a wide selection of draft beers and American fare. The Oak Brook location is around 7,000 square feet and seats 190 in the dining area, and an additional 25 at the bar. The restaurant has a patio that seats up to 72 people and displays two large flat screen TVs and two outdoor fireplaces.
In June 2013, the national gourmet burger chains opened a location in Oakbrook Center and hired 85 team members to work in the restaurant. Red Robin serves award-winning gourmet burgers, as well as appetizers, chicken sandwiches, entrees, salads, soups and wraps in a family-friendly casual dining atmosphere.
Other New Retailers in Oak Brook
In addition to the new retailers that opened doors at Oakbrook Center, the Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership also welcomed Pier 1, a home décor and gifts store, and Sleepys, a retailer specializing in mattresses, to Oak Brook. Pier 1 opened doors at the Shops of Oak Brook and Sleepys is now open at the Oaks of Oak Brook.
Expansion of Pedestrian Access
The Partnership, the Village of Oak Brook, General Growth Properties, Oak Brook businesses, landlords and hotels have worked in 2013 to expand pedestrian access around and into Oakbrook Center. Planned improvements under future pedestrian access projects include sidewalks, specialty paving sidewalks and crosswalks, mid-block crosswalks and signals, pedestrian countdown signals, bollard lights, directional and street signage, furnishings and landscaping. The first construction project was completed in 2013 and improved access on Commerce Drive.
Oak Brook’s International Initiatives
The Greater Oak Brook Economic Development Partnership’s international initiatives are aimed at supporting economic development efforts by assisting Greater Oak Brook companies’ growth, encouraging international trade and attracting international companies to locate to Greater Oak Brook. In 2013, the Partnership hosted the Chicago International Trade Commissioners Association and 19 Trade Consuls representing various countries around the world, which included Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay. The Partnership also presented international speakers from the Italian Trade Commission, Invest in France, The Hong Kong Development Council and US Commercial Services.