In latest mall repurposing, Hi-Five Sports Zone leases space in Northbrook Court

Brookfield is planning a $250 million overhaul of the mall that will include 300 apartments

From left: Danny, Marv and Ryan Tuchman in the Hi-Five Sports Zone in Northbrook Court
From left: Danny, Marv and Ryan Tuchman in the Hi-Five Sports Zone in Northbrook Court

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.

Hi-Five Sports Zone

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.

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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.