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Aurora OKs outlet mall expansion plan

Traffic backs up inner lane westbound I-88 as drivers try get Chicago Premium Outlets mall for Black Friday shopping last

Traffic backs up on the inner lane of westbound I-88 as drivers try to get to the Chicago Premium Outlets mall for Black Friday shopping last year in Aurora at Butterfield and Kirk Roads in 2012. | Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: October 24, 2013 10:38AM

AURORA — Despite efforts to table the issue, aldermen unanimously approved a concept plan that will make way for a significant expansion of Aurora’s outlet mall at a meeting Tuesday night.

Under the plan, Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora plans to add about 294,000 square feet of new retail space by 2015. John Villapiano, senior development manager at Simon Property Group, said the expansion will make room for 80 new stores.

Simon Properties, the group that owns the outlet mall, plans to break ground on the expansion in May 2014 and open in spring 2015, according to Sandy Stein, an attorney representing Simon Property Group.

A move to hold off on voting on the concept plan and zoning failed 4-7. Aldermen Mike Saville, 6th Ward; Edward Bugg, 9th Ward; Lynne Johnson, 10th Ward; and Richard Irvin, At-large, voted in support of tabling the issue.

Johnson said she wanted to hold off on a vote to allow for more time to discuss the plan with neighboring residents.

Danielle Cancilla, Simon senior vice president of development, said Simon leaders held a community forum in September with Big Woods Marmion and the North East Neighbors neighborhood groups.

Roger Vernon, chairman of the Big Woods Marmion neighborhood group, said that residents avoid the existing outlet mall area on some weekends when traffic is “atrocious.”

“The parking situation is (also) not good for lack of a better term,” he told alderman Tuesday night.

The expansion will occupy a vacant industrial site, home of the former Sealmaster Bearings plant, just east of the current outlet mall at Farnsworth Avenue and Bilter Road. The 45-acre expansion site is located in Tax Increment Financing District 8.

The expansion would also add another 1,743 parking spots to the mall’s existing 2,190 parking spots, said Greg Wolterstorff, director of natural resources at V3 Companies, a civil engineering firm.

About 120 stores are currently located at Chicago Premium Outlets. The existing 438,000-square-foot outlet mall was developed on a 59-acre development site with 80 acres of wetlands property. The Chicago Premium Outlets expansion would make the new mall a 730,000-square-foot facility.

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