The Machesney Park Town Center, formerly known as the Machesney Park Mall, is undergoing a major transformation as it welcomes new tenants and renovates its space. The mall, which was built in 1979 and closed in 2011, has been gradually redeveloped by its owner, First Midwest Group, into a mixed-use center that combines retail, office, entertainment and residential uses.
Some of the new tenants that have recently opened or are planning to open soon at the Machesney Park Town Center include:
- Planet Fitness, a fitness center that occupies 20,000 square feet of space and offers state-of-the-art equipment, free fitness training and a spa-like environment.
- The Learning Experience, a childcare center that provides educational programs for children from six weeks to six years old. The center features a curriculum that covers math, science, literacy, music, art and more.
- Dollar Tree, a discount store that sells a variety of items for $1 or less. The store offers products such as household goods, food, health and beauty products, toys, books and seasonal items.
- Hobby Lobby, a craft and home decor store that sells a wide range of products such as fabrics, yarns, paints, frames, floral supplies, jewelry making supplies and more. The store also offers classes and workshops on various crafts and hobbies.
- Ross Dress for Less, a clothing store that sells brand-name apparel, shoes and accessories at discounted prices. The store offers merchandise for men, women and children, as well as home decor and gift items.
These new tenants join the existing ones at the Machesney Park Town Center, such as:
- Meijer, a supercenter that sells groceries, household items, electronics, clothing, pharmacy products and more. The store also features a gas station, a car wash and a Starbucks coffee shop.
- Rural King, a farm and home store that sells agricultural supplies, tools, hardware, pet supplies, clothing, sporting goods and more. The store also features a live animal section with chickens, ducks and rabbits.
- Burlington, a department store that sells coats, clothing, shoes, accessories, home goods and more at discounted prices. The store offers merchandise for men, women and children of all ages and sizes.
- Binny’s Beverage Depot, a liquor store that sells wine, beer, spirits and more. The store also features a cigar humidor, a walk-in beer cooler and a tasting room.
A vision for the future of the mall
The Machesney Park Town Center is not only adding new tenants but also improving its infrastructure and appearance. According to First Midwest Group’s website1, the mall is undergoing several renovations such as:
- Replacing the roof and skylights
- Updating the electrical system
- Installing new LED lighting
- Painting the exterior walls
- Landscaping the grounds
- Adding new signage
The mall is also planning to create more outdoor spaces for dining and entertainment2. One of the projects is to convert the former Sears building into an open-air pavilion that will host events such as concerts, festivals and farmers markets3. Another project is to build an amphitheater near the Meijer store that will accommodate up to 5,000 people.
The Machesney Park Town Center is part of a larger vision by First Midwest Group to revitalize the area along North Second Street (Route 251) in Machesney Park. The company owns several properties along the corridor and has been working with the village to attract new businesses and improve the infrastructure. Some of the other projects that First Midwest Group has completed or is working on include:
- Building a new Culver’s restaurant near the mall entrance
- Developing a new medical office building near the mall entrance
- Building a new Taco Bell restaurant near the mall entrance
- Developing a new retail center near the Rural King store
- Building a new Starbucks coffee shop near the Meijer store
- Developing a new hotel near the Meijer store
A response to changing consumer preferences
The Machesney Park Town Center is an example of how malls are adapting to changing consumer preferences in the wake of online shopping and the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by Coresight Research, more than 8,000 stores closed in the U.S. in 2020 due to declining sales and foot traffic. Many of these stores were located in malls that have struggled to compete with e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.
To survive and thrive in this challenging environment, malls have been reinventing themselves as destinations that offer more than just shopping. They have been adding tenants that provide experiences such as dining, entertainment, fitness and education. They have also been diversifying their tenant mix to include non-retail uses such as office, residential and medical. These strategies aim to attract more customers, generate more revenue and create more value for the mall owners and the community.
The Machesney Park Town Center is a case in point. By adding new tenants that cater to different needs and interests, the mall is creating a more vibrant and diverse environment that appeals to a wider range of customers. By renovating its space and creating more outdoor areas, the mall is enhancing its appearance and functionality, as well as providing more opportunities for social interaction and enjoyment. By working with the village and other stakeholders, the mall is contributing to the economic development and quality of life of the area.
The Machesney Park Town Center is not only a mall but also a town center that serves as a hub for the community. It is a place where people can shop, eat, work, play, learn and live. It is a place where people can find what they need and want in one convenient location. It is a place where people can have fun and make memories with their friends and family.