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Niles adopts Comprehensive 2040 plan; would create downtown-type district, more housing

An outlook for Niles that would create a downtown-type district along Milwaukee Avenue is part of a comprehensive plan passed by the Village Board on Tuesday. The 2040 Comprehensive Plan also includes a revamped Golf Mill.

The expansive plan is 175 pages long with 13 goals, 53 policies and over 140 strategies to achieve those goals. The document calls for multiple plans to increase housing and commerce and make Niles more walkable.

Nick Kalogeresis, an associate principal with the Lakota Group, the consultant hired by the village to execute the 2040 plan, described the plan as a “policy guide” that received feedback from the community through interviews, pop-up events, surveys and online engagement.

The 2040 plan calls for Milwaukee Avenue between Golf Road (9600 north) and Touhy Avenue (7200 north) to transform into a “downtown” area that is more walkable and has more development in terms of housing, commercial space and mixed-use buildings. To turn that area from a corridor that people travel by car into a more urban setting, the document offers six concept plans along Milwaukee Avenue at Courtland Drive, Dempster Street, Oakton Street, Jonquil Terrace, Harlem Avenue and Waukegan Road.

At the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Courtland Drive, the 2040 plan envisions five components, including a four- to five-story mixed-use development with 7,000 square feet of commercial space, 27 to 46 apartments and internal parking.

Other highlights include:

  • Two four to five-story tall multi-family residential properties with 68 to 84 apartments with internal parking.

  • Six two to three-story row homes facing Courtland Drive.

  • A new plaza at the intersection of Milwaukee and Courtland to act as a gathering space.

At the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Dempster Street, the concept plan envisions four major components as an opportunity, including:

  • A shared two-story 21,000 square-foot office space with 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

  • Two shared parking lots for a total 70 parking spaces.

  • A new plaza space.

At the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Oakton Street, the concept plan envisions four major components as an opportunity, including:

  • A 6,000-square-foot commercial development facing Milwaukee Avenue that could be divided for tenants.

  • A 3,600-square-foot commercial development facing Milwaukee Avenue that could also be divided.

  • A shared parking lot with 30 parking spaces.

  • A new plaza with a path connecting parking to the buildings.

At the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Jonquil Terrace, the concept plan envisions four major components as an opportunity, including:

  • Two four to five-story mixed-use developments with the ground floor used as commercial space and the upper floors used for residential space.

  • A three-story parking structure.

At the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Harlem Avenue, the concept plan envisions four major components as an opportunity, including:

  • A four to five-story mixed-use development with the ground floor used for commercial space and the upper floors used for residential space.

  • A new plaza.

  • A four to five-story mixed-use development with the ground floor used for commercial space and the upper floors used for 30 to 42 residential units.

  • A shared parking lot with 170 parking spaces.

  • A new access street between Harlem and Milwaukee Avenues.

At the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Waukegan Road, the concept plan envisions four major components as an opportunity, including:

  • A four to five-story mixed-use development with 6,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 36 to 45 residential units on the upper floors.

  • A four to five-story mixed-use development with 12,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 72 to 96 residential units on the upper floors.

  • A four to five-story mixed-use development with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and 30 to 40 residential units on the upper floors.

  • A four to five-story mixed-use development with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and residential units on the upper floors.

  • A shared parking structure with 300 parking spaces.

  • A centralized gathering space with green spaces, a fountain feature and seating.

The 2040 plan recommends new, varied development along Golf Road near the Golf Mill Shopping Center. The plan’s stated goal is to preserve the big box retail stores in the area and use vacant land to build mixed-use developments with commercial and residential components. The character of the area is likely to remain auto-oriented, according to the plan, but it recommends efforts to create a safe and accessible passage for pedestrians at improved intersections along Golf Road and Milwaukee Avenue.

In October 2023, the Village Board approved a non-binding agreement with the owner and developer of the Golf Mill Shopping Center to redevelop the mall. According to the agreement, construction would require two phases. The first phase would create 300 luxury apartments, high-end stores, restaurants and a water feature, such as a pond.

The village would contribute up to $96 million in “pay-as-you-go” tax increment financing in redeveloping the mall’s first construction phase. The mall’s developer estimated the total project to cost $440 million.

“Through this thoughtful and comprehensive plan, we have the opportunity to continue shaping our future in a way that benefits all members of our community,” said Mayor George Alpogianis.