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SOUTH BARRINGTON, IL-The rapidly expanding I-90 corridor will soon be home to a new 600,000 sf lifestyle center, The Arboretum of South Barrington. The open-air center is being developed by Northbrook, Illinois-based Jaffe Cos. and will be complete by the summer of 2008. It is being developed on the site of a former tree nursery in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and will be located at the intersection if Illinois Routes 59 and 72 here, less than a mile from I-90.

The Prairie Stone Development, located a mile west of The Arboretum, is among the factors generating tremendous growth in the area, says Jaffe officials. Prairie Stone includes Sears Holding Corporation’s headquarters, the Sears Center, a multi-purpose arena, a 14-story hotel and a Cabela’s hunting, fishing and camping store. In addition to Prarie Stone, a 400,000 sf Target-anchored center, Poplar Creek Crossing, will share the intersection with The Arboretum. Poplar Creek’s other tenants include Linens ‘n Things, TJ Maxx, Lane Bryant and Office Max. Jaffe has been developing retail properties in Illinois and Texas for 24 years, and recently sold a 479,000 sf lifestyle center to Morgan Stanley, about 15 miles from the site of The Arboretum.

“I zeroed in on the highly visible intersection of Route 59 and Higgins Road after we sold Geneva Commons,” Michael Jaffe, president of the Jaffe Companies, says in a statement. “It was perfectly spaced from existing lifestyle centers and was the only location in the region with full I-90 access. It was a sleeping giant.” He did not say how much it will cost to build the new development.

The former nursery was re-zoned for commercial development in 1999, but litigation kept the site unavailable until 2004. The developer presented plans to the community in the summer of 2005 and won approval from the South Barrington Village Board a year later.

The architecture of the site is intended to echo the style of Lake Forest, Illinois’ Market Square, which was one of the first integrated shopping centers in the country. Jaffe added, “It should feel as if it’s been there forever. It will be a very pedestrian friendly assortment of shops with engaging window displays and arcades – a Main Street style presentation, but with abundant parking,” he says.

Plans also call for pedestrian links to the adjacent Woods of South Barrington residential development and to village conservancy and park district facilities. Groundbreaking is scheduled for spring of 2007, with a targeted opening date of summer 2008.

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