Tonight, the Village Board of Downers Grove is meeting to discuss the future of Downtown Downers Grove. According to the agenda, they're actually doing this : Discussion of the proposed downtown development regulatory framework developed by the Comprehensive Planning Ad Hoc Committee and the Plan Commission in accordance with Village Council direction. But, a closer look at the documents attached to the agenda show that the dry description actually reveals quite a bit more interesting ideas and what appears to be a big deal. There are 115 pages of documents attached to tonight's meeting, but buried in there are some interesting nuggets, charts and drawings. If approved, the plan laid out - appears to me at least - to provide the blueprint to continue the reinvention and reinvestment of downtown Downers Grove. The plan lays out specific locations and recommendations for improvement and calls out 12 specific 'Downtown Catalyst Sites" that you can see above.
Showing posts with the label downtown elmhurst
When we first moved to town, t here was an Anderson's bookstore right in the Elmhurst City Centre . For real. Then they closed down, scurried back to Downtown Naperville and a weird hookah place opened up in the same location just north of Francesca's on York. Today? That tobacco/hookah place is now closed and gone with the windows paper'd over and a 'for lease' sign up in front. We lose another retailer and the associated sales tax, but we get a brand-new opportunity for something great. I would think that parking is one of the tough parts with this location, but with the new apartment buildings gaining occupancy just north of this, there should be some demand for the space, right? But then again, right across the street from this is that other newly renovated set of storefronts ( where the old Salt Creek Pottery was located on the east side of York, just south of City Hall) that are all totally vacant, too. Perhaps, retail isn't in the Elmhurst Ci
What was Wok 'N Fire just six months ago is now an empty restaurant as Bok Choy has announced their closing in the Elmhurst City Centre. The sign thanks customers for 15 years of support and asks them to visit the Addison location. We only visited Wok n' Fire once during our 10 years in town and didn't make it into Bok Choy, so this is hardly a loss for the dining scene for our family, but it is a shame to see another place go in the City Centre. New places have come ( Red Arrow Tap Room ) and are on their way ( Beerheads ) but we'll just have to add this to the long list of "So Long..." posts here on the blog about vacancies in the Elmhurst City Centre. A few of the most recent: So Long, Theatre History Society of America So Long, Salseria in Elmhurst City Centre So Long, Cold Stone In The Elmhurst City Centre
Earlier this week on my walk to the train, I noticed this "Office Suites Available" sign at 152 York Street - right sandwiched between the Gaming Goat and the York Theatre . The door leads to a 2nd floor suite that used to be occupied by the Theatre Historical Society of America . Yeah...the Elmhurst City Centre used to be home to them. And they were tucked away in a 2nd floor suite above the York Theatre. But, now they're gone. Turns out, last summer, news broke that the group was moving to Pittsburgh . Somehow, I missed all of this. And that, right there, might have been the problem. We just weren't paying attention: After more than two decades in Elmhurst, the Theater Historical Society has decided to move its headquarters to Pittsburgh. In a newsletter published on the organization’s website , the board of directors said the move is motivated mostly by the space limitations of their location above the York Theater, 150 N. York St., in downtown
If you walk by the Salseria on the east side of York Street right in the heart of the City Centre, you'll come across a few signs announcing the closing of the restaurant including the one above and the one below that say "See you Soon" and "Thank you Elmhurst for 12 great years". They also herald a new concept coming to the location: Victory Meat and Seafood. When I came across the news of the Salseria being closed, I had to ask Nat how many times we went there. The answer? Just twice. And both times, I guess we didn't love it. But other folks must have, right? No way a place survives for 10+ years without being pretty good? The new place is going to feature " 5-varieties of fresh Oysters daily ", so it will be a bit different and will likely fill a need in town, but because they're going to be opening in August of this year, we'll have to think about coming back as 'tourists' to the Elmhurst City Centre. So long,
Back at the beginning of the month, I posted a photo of a relic from a long-gone Burny Brothers Bakery on York Street in Elmhurst that had recently been unearthed by the construction crew and owners of the soon-to-open Beerheads bar right in the heart of the Elmhurst City Centre. You can see all the posts about the Beerhead Bar & Eatery construction here . In that post, I expressed my hope that between the owners of the building, the contractor and the folks behind Beerheads , there would emerge a sense of history and conclude that retaining this cool relic would only add to the flavor of their new place. Well...guess what? They're all over it! Seriously. I heard heard from the owner of Global Builders, Carmen Gratace, who said that they've confirmed with the owners that the 'welcome mat' from Burney Brothers is indeed staying. Kudos to Global Builders. You can find their site here . We should applaud both Carmen and his entire company for going the e
If you walk by the construction site of the new Beerheads Bar on the Northeast corner of First and York in the Elmhurst City Centre, you'll see a bit of progress on the building. I last posted about the status of the project here on the blog in February . You can go down the whole rabbit hole of posts related to the site here on the blog . But, in addition to seeing the exterior construction progress, if you look inside one of the new doorways, you'll also see this - the photo above. It is a relic from the past. And was a stonework 'welcome mat' for Burny Brothers. I had never heard of Burny Brothers, but 'teh Googles' quickly educated me. From this Burny Brothers archive site : Burny Brothers Bakery was founded in 1910 in Chicago, Illinois by a working-class immigrant family, and grew to become a successful, uniquely American enterprise. The founding family sold its interest in 1963 to Beatrice Foods Co., which in turn sold the wholesale divisi
I've covered the Elmhurst City Centre and the commercial developments and activities that take place down there on the blog for seven years. You can see all the 'Elmhurst City Center' posts here . There's a lot of them. But, there's big changes on the horizon for the downtown area. If you live in any of the areas that are bordering the City Centre areas, you've probably noticed the sign you see above posted on various corners around town. The reason is that the City is going through a process to adopt a new Downtown Plan. That plan sets forth some zoning changes that would amend the current zoning ordinance. Full details can be found here on the City of Elmhurst's site . The City of Elmhurst should be commended for transparency and their efforts to engage the public on this. In addition to these signs, they've also utilized a digital sign right on York. I mean...they're really trying! So, good work, City of Elmhurst. We happen to
If you live in Elmhurst and opened your utility bill recently, you probably saw this notice in the envelope that calls out the tax increases you're about to be hit with. They call it a 'Utility Bill Rate Increase', but let's all call it what it is: Government reaching into your pocket and taking more of your money for no new services. This increase is a 12.6% increase for this year, but if you read closely, they say that there are EVEN MORE tax increases coming in the next few years. They say, they *might* not be all the way up to 12.6%, but you can bet they'll be near 10% next year and the year after and the year after. Don't even get me started with the sewer costs. How does the City figure your sewer bill? Welp, they just take the consumption amount of water and charge you that rate for sewer fees. Even if it all doesn't go down the drain. Water your grass or garden? That water isn't going in the sewer is it? Nope. Doesn't matter.
If you walk past Hartmann Jewelers on the east side of York Street - just across the tracks - in the Elmhurst City Centre, you'll see this: papered up windows. And a little note that says that they're closed. The note says that if you left a piece with them, they'll be in touch to get it to you. There were once three jewelry stores in the City Centre. There's Cottage Hill Diamonds (still there!), plus this place Hartmann and one other. Can you remember? Well, it wasn't so much a jewelry shop as it was a pawn shop. Yep, for a sad period of time, we had a "GoldMax" on the west side of York Street in the City Centre. This was back in 2012 . We've been in Hartmann a few times, but it was ONLY ever on the downtown Trick-or-Treat days when the kids wandered in there to pick up a lollipop or Tootsie Roll. Oh well, I guess part of why they're closing is the community didn't support them. There was once three. Now there's just o
Back in December of last year, there was finally a flurry of activity on the structure that sits at the northwest corner of First and York (just on the north side of the tracks) in the Elmhurst City Center. I covered it here on the blog and at that time, Alderman Dannee Polomsky of the 3rd Ward shared that there was a new business going into the spot called Beerhead Bar & Eatery. If you head to the Beerhead site, they now even have a page up for the Elmhurst location . For the better part of the past 60 days, there has been scaffolding up on both sides of the building as they do some exterior work on the facade, but as I walked by it earlier this week on my way to the train, I noticed the scaffolding was all gone. And the building looks great! They added some black stone to the top and down the sides and cleaned up the brick it looks like to me. The building, which if you look back thru the archives was a hodgepodge of a bunch of different uses including Polay's in
Well, well, well. Now...*this* is a film worth talking about as part of the Art @ York Series at the York Theatre in the Elmhurst City Centre. 'The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years' is the choice from Classic Cinemas for the February 2017 Art @ York Feature. You can see more here on their site , but it is being shown on Wednesday February 8th at 1 pm and 7 pm. And it was done by Ron Howard? Yep ! The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years is based on the first part of The Beatles' career (1962-1966) - the period in which they toured and captured the world's acclaim. Ron Howard's film will explore how John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to become this phenomenon, "The Beatles." It will delve into their inner workings - how they made decisions, created music and built their collective career together - all the while, highlighting The Beatles' extraordinary musical gifts and their r
It has been eight months since the storefronts down at the corner of First and York have sat gutted and boarded up. I last posted about them here on the blog back in March . And that's when the rumor mill was saying that it might end up being a Rosebud restaurant going in there. But, I have no idea if that was real or just idle chatter. Whomever is moving in, there's suddenly progress going on with the building. In that photo above, you can see a crew working on the exterior installing steel beams that look like they'll be creating an awning/little roof of sorts that sticks out from the brick facade. Anyone know what's going in this spot? A guy can keep hoping for retail, right? Update: Alderman Dannee Polomsky of the 3rd Ward pointed out to me this am via email that this location is for a new craft beer place run by 'Beer Pros' called Beerhead Bar and Eatery . From the City of Elmhurst's site : The City is excited to announce that Beer
It has been almost a full year since the Elmhurst Olive Oil Company closed it's doors in the spot just north of the York Threatre in the Elmhurst City Centre. But, if you walk past the store today, you'll see these new signs hanging up in the window that herald a new beginning: The Gaming Goat store is coming to the City Centre. Going back in the archives, I have this post from January of 2011 when this location hosted a recently-closed business called "Let's Have a Party" . Remember that? But, what *is* the Gaming Goat? I can't get to their site for some reason, but the Oak Park Store has a Facebook page and from the looks of things this isn't a video game store. It is more of a Settlers of Catan-type of store. Or Magic The Gathering-type of store. Board and dice games. The Geeks shall inherit the City Centre, it seems. I am assuming that they're going to hustle to get the store open before the holiday shopping season and I'm gl
Showing TODAY (Wedesday) at the York Theater is this month's "Art @ the York" feature titled 'The Man Who Knew Infinity'. For those of you who don't know about this film series, the basics are that you can get all art-y with this movie (that isn't shown widely) today and you can also get there for the organ player before the show. Yep. They bring the guy from The Tivoli in Downers Grove to play before the show in the original theatre at the York. Pretty neat. Despite the Rotten Tomatoes score of just 62% , the Art @ York series usually gets the movies right, so this one seems worth seeing. Check out the Art @ The York archives here on the blog where I've been covering this series since it began all the way back in June of 2015 .
Back in April of last year, I posted some photos of a new eye doctor place opening on York Street in the Elmhurst City Centre called Spex here on the blog . If you walk by the place today, you'll see that they've rebranded to "MyEyeDr". Spex is a chain - you can see the locations here - and so is MyEyeDr - so I'm wondering if it is a franchise kind of thing? And the folks in Elmhurst decided to go a different direction? Here's the new page on the MyEyeDr page showing the Elmhurst location . Whatever the reason, they've spent a lot of money in awnings in just a year and a half, amirite?
At one point, I have to think that Elmhurst and our City Centre was one of the sweet treat capitols of the world. We had - what - three yogurt shops. And two ice cream shops. And a shaved ice place. All within like three blocks of each other. Now we're down to three total. TCBY on the yogurt side. And BrainFreeze on the ice cream side. And the shaved ice place that operates seasonally. And that's because the Cold Stone Creamery on the east side of York - right across from the bowling alley - is shuttered. That sign was posted on the windows earlier this month and if you walk by the place now, it is empty. All the signage inside and out is gone. The fixtures and furniture...gone. And while we're saying 'so long' to this place, I have to raise my own hand and say 'sorry'. We just flat out didn't support this store. Not sure the reason, but it wasn't in our world and didn't appeal to us. Maybe our kids are too young to see the ap
If you walk by the storefront just south of TCBY on the west side of York Street in the Elmhurst City Centre these days, you'll notice that there's a 'for lease' sign up in the old Meeder Remodeling location. They were in this spot for about a year or less only - as I posted about them moving out of their location further south here on the blog last December . If you drive down south on York near the Prairie Path, you'll see that they've relocated down there, which is great and means that they didn't close up shop. As for the City Centre, we need a mix of uses - from retail to restaurant to services to offices. And Meeder was a part of that mix. They didn't generate a ton of foot traffic, but I am guessing that they employed a staff that worked in the City Centre everyday that provided needed customers to the other tenants of the City Centre. Because storefronts are so scarce, I'm always going to advocate for office/showroom uses like thi
The next film up in the Art @ the York Theatre series in the Elmhurst City Centre is Jimmy's Hall. You can see the official listing here on the Classic Cinemas' site here . There's also this Eventbrite listing that allows you to 'register' for the screenings? Which is weird, but maybe you can buy tickets through Eventbrite, now? Anyway, about the film : In 1921, Jimmy Gralton's sin was to build a dance hall on a rural crossroads in Ireland where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream, but above all to dance and have fun. Jimmy's Hall celebrates the spirit of these free thinkers. The film is set in 1932 and follows events when Jimmy returned from a decade in New York and re-opened the hall. The film is freely inspired by Jimmy's life and turbulent times. (109 minutes) The screenings are on September 14th at 1 pm and 7 pm. And...don't forget to get there early for the preshow entertainment at 12:30 PM on their Barton Theatre
Last week, I posted a little update to the new restaurant coming to the Elmhurst City Centre right across the street from the York Theatre . At that time, I didn't know the name, but today we do: One Fifty One Kitchen and Bar. There's that new sign you can see above hanging on the fence if you walk by the site and you can check out their site here . The url is 151 Elmhurst, so maybe that's how people will type it when they search for the location instead of [one fifty one Elmhurst]?? The sign proclaims: An exciting new restaurant concept celebrating the bounty of the Midwest.