It’s no secret that shopping malls face challenging times. With online shopping options expanding, mall operators and retailers know they need to get creative in order to get customers in the door.
That’s just what the new owners of Burr Ridge Village Center plan on doing.
Edwards Realty Company, based in Orland Park, has been acquiring and revitalizing troubled mall properties in the Chicago area for years. Together with its partner, Core Acquisitions, it acquired Burr Ridge Village Center in March 2019.
“You can have multiple business plans when you have a long-term interest in a property,” says Ramzi Hassan, president of Edwards Realty.
The company’s business model is all about understanding the community and redeveloping properties based on the characteristics and concerns of residents and businesses in the area.
“Family-owned businesses build character and we want strong local businesses and entrepreneurs,” Hassan says.
He points out that Burr Ridge Village Center already has a lot going for it. Existing restaurants are doing very well and there are residential properties on-site, as well as co-working space. A state-of-the-art garage provides ample parking, and the center is easily accessible from the intersection of Interstates 55 and 294.
“People will travel for restaurant and entertainment options,” Hassan says.
Plans include bringing in more destination businesses such as doctor and dentist offices, as well as businesses that can extend the hours people visit the center, including a late-night sports bar. The idea is to give a reason for visitors to come early and stay late.
There are also plans to bring in pop-up shops where local, home-based businesses can rent space for a week or a month and test out the retail market for their products. Hassan wants the center to host events like concert series and musical festivals, a French market, and craft beer events. Entertainment for children and families is also on the agenda.
“We want the center to be somewhere you can visit for a few hours, get some great quality food, and shop at an eclectic mix of local businesses,” Hassan says.
While he acknowledges Burr Ridge Village Center will never compete with nearby Oakbrook Center, Hassan believes it can draw visitors from surrounding communities such as Hinsdale if it offers the right experience.
“In order to be successful we have to draw people from all of the surrounding communities,” Hassan says. “We’ve got to bring people in.”
It’s the commitment to the long-term and the desire to genuinely be part of the Burr Ridge community that just might be the secret sauce to success.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest retailer and tenant mix is very important to us,” Hassan says. “We have patience.”
Burr Ridge Village Center is located at 701 Village Center Drive in Burr Ridge, 630-654-2782, shopburrridge.com.