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WINNETKA, IL-New Trier Partners LLC has received preliminary plan approval from the Village Council of Winnetka on a $50-million mixed-use development. Plans for the private equity firm’s development have been a work in progress since New Trier bought the one-acre property in September 2007. Following collaboration with the village, a plan was determined for a 168,000-square-foot building that will offer 35,300 square feet of retail and 31 condo units.

“It’s a very rare infill piece, where the visibility is great,” Robert Goldstein, managing partner at New Trier, tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s the nicest corner in all of Winnetka within the East Elm Business district. The demographics in the area are the best in the country, and lend the development to higher-end boutique retail.”

The development calls for a four-story building, which offers retail on the ground and lower levels, facing Elm Street and Lincoln Avenue. Asking lease rates for the retail space have not yet been determined. The three stories above will offer 31 one- and two-bedroom condos, which are expected to range in price from $800,000 to $1.8 million. Construction won’t begin for at least another year, until market conditions improve.

Planned within Winnetka’s downtown area, the project is the village’s first planned development in its history. “We’re the first developer to acquire this amount of land, and since this was the first-ever planned development, the process was an arduous one,” Goldstein says. “It was truly a collaborative process, and as a result of that, it’s a better project.”

The property currently houses three buildings, including the former property of the Fell Company, a well-known local retail store which closed in recent years. A mix of office and retail tenants currently occupy the 35,000 square feet of space now on the property, and will continue to operate out of the space until a construction timeline is determined. When the time comes, New Trier will raze the three buildings and the current retail tenants will have the opportunity to relocate into the new development.

“The current buildings aren’t contiguous, so we’ll get better density and maximize the efficiency of the land with one building,” Goldstein says. “When the existing buildings were built, they were beautiful, but they’re over 40 years old now and have aged over the years.”

The project will implement the existing 76-space underground parking into the design of the new building, which is to become Winnetka’s first LEED-certified new structure. New Trier will make a financial contribution to the village by paying for public improvements to the area surrounding the development, including increased streetlights, East Elm business district signage and improve streetscapes.

Winnetka is in the North Shore submarket, where retail occupancy rates are around 90%, Goldstein says. “There aren’t a lot of other developments in the area, which is fortunate for us,” he says. “We’re fortunate to have existing financing in place and the timing was right when we acquired the property.” New Trier is in the process of securing supplemental financing to cover construction costs.

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