Hawthorn Mall will finally be appealing again
Updated: September 10, 2012 6:12AM
VERNON HILLS -- Well, well. It’s about time.
Finally, after years of talks and then deafening silence, changes have been proposed to upgrade Hawthorn Mall, something shoppers across the area have long been yearning for. Shopping there has been described as depressing, dated, unattractive -- not the kind of experience that mall shopping once promised and delivered.
I know it’s a new day in retailing, and malls don’t hold the cachet they once did. But I’ve seen a metamorphosis done at other centers, combining the best of all retail styles, and we’ve often discussed here in this space why Hawthorn was on the back-burner.
But finally it is not on slow simmer anymore. Plans have been presented and received enthusiastic response from local officials. Additions of theatre screens and restaurants in an entirely new wing would expand the footprint of the mall and offer patrons more options to visit the site and stay longer, something that hasn’t been the case there for a long while.
In the early days, our family did a much-anticipated annual holiday outing at Hawthorn on a December Saturday night, strolling the busy mall full of beautiful holiday decorations and carolers, eating in the food court or one of the restaurants, shopping for gifts and simply drinking in festive atmosphere along with the rest of the crowd. The past decade hasn’t been as attractive as those early days, however, and much holiday shopping was done at the newer lifestyle centers, offering a get-in-and-get-out philosophy that fitted the newer more hectic family schedule.
I miss those early days, frankly. And even though my troops are now full grown, the grandchildren have started coming and I’d welcome the opportunity to revisit those holiday mall evenings with a new generation. Now that the plans are in serious discussion, it looks like I could get my chance, because the revitalization might actually occur.
Well, revitalization up to a point, I should stipulate. That’s because the anchor tenants Sears, Carsons, JC Penney and Macys own their structures and are under no obligation to do any improvements -- not even better toilet paper. Too bad, because the exterior of those spaces, particularly the three originals (Penneys was not part of the first mall structure), is in great need of some positive change. Maybe they’re waiting until 1970s architecture is considered vintage instead of dated? It’s a shame they can’t figure out a way to freshen their own appearance to coincide with a new and more vibrant Hawthorn Mall.
But hey, let’s at least send a shout-out to Westfield for finally realizing that we too deserve an attractive updated mall.
Send email to Pat Lenhoff at: firstname.lastname@example.org