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Illinois' Largest Mall Is Getting A New, Upgraded Food Court

A rendering of Woodfield Mall's new dining pavilion, which is under construction.

Big changes are afoot at Woodfield Mall. Owner Simon Property Group started construction on a $13.9M dining pavilion two weeks ago, the latest phase in an ongoing overhaul of Illinois' largest shopping center that began shortly after Simon acquired a 50% stake in Woodfield in 2013, valued at $505M.

Woodfield Mall General Manager Kurt Webb said a revamped food court was a logical decision for Simon. With the shifting dynamics of retail and the overall mall experience, the role that food plays is more prevalent than ever.

Having quality fast-casual dining options keeps shoppers in malls longer and enhances the customer experience. Simon has recently completed similar projects at other malls it owns in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Westchester, New York and Roosevelt Field, New York.

An aerial rendering of Woodfield Mall's under-construction dining pavilion.

Woodfield Mall's revamped dining pavilion will include 820 seats, floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing natural light inside, and a view outside on the upper level of the Sears wing. The pavilion will also feature wide-screen TVs and gathering spaces, communal tables and hightop seating with power for charging devices. Webb said the dining pavilion will be home to 12 eateries and he is seeking a mix of local and national fast-casual restaurant concepts so customers will have a wide variety of dining options.

Fast-casual dining pavilions and food halls have exploded in popularity as big-box department stores continue to struggle in the turbulent retail landscape. Webb said Woodfield has weathered the changes well. The center turned over 30% of its tenant mix when Simon acquired its stake in the mall four years ago, and brought in new and better tenants. Woodfield's location makes it better positioned to capture the best tenants.

The first phase of Woodfield Mall's renovations is a nearly completed overhaul of the mall’s interior. Simon installed all new flooring, lighting, paint, elevators, improved sight lines and made the different elevation changes easier to navigate. Webb said Simon is targeting a late summer 2018 opening for the dining pavilion.