A youth recreational sports facility is leasing space in the Brookfield Property Partners-owned Northbrook Court shopping center, the latest example of a mall owner turning to a non-retail use to fill vacant space. Brookfield is planning a $250 million overhaul of Northbrook Court.
Hi-Five Sports Zone is taking 14,000 square feet at mall at 1515 Lake Cook Road, taking over the former Sports Authority space after the big box store closed in 2016.
A Hi-Five spokesperson said the nearly 30-year-old sports program converted the former retail store into recreational space for basketball, football, baseball, floor hockey and soccer. The venue features a basketball court, turf field, event space and a lounge area for parents.
As part of the renovations, Brookfield and developer Ryan Companies want to tear down the Macy’s store and replace it with 300 apartments, a grocery store, a food hall, new retail, a plaza for special events and more.
The owner of the north suburban mall has asked the village to provide $21.5 million in tax increment financing for the project, and to rebate $5.5 million in sales taxes, according to the Northbrook Star.
Changes at Northbrook Court have been in the works since January 2017, when then-owner GGP talked about renovating the mall to include fewer anchors and more non-traditional uses like the Hi-Five facility. Macy’s sold its space at the mall for $25 million in January 2018 to GGP, which was bought out by Brookfield in July for $15 billion.
The Northbrook Court proposal follows a blueprint Brookfield laid out this year to repurpose poorly performing malls by adding housing, office space or hotels.
Battered by diminishing revenue and rising vacancies — particularly after the demise of large tenants like Sports Authority, Toys “R” Us, Carson’s and potentially Sears — many mall owners nationwide are transforming their assets, turning the hulking properties into offices, housing, co-working spaces and hotels.