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Development to bring more shops to downtown

BBM Inc. plans to build a 100,000 square foot retail and office development on Main Street between Benton and Van Buren avenues across from Main Street Promenade. (Submitted by Culloton Strategies)

BBM Inc. plans to build a 100,000 square foot retail and office development on Main Street between Benton and Van Buren avenues across from Main Street Promenade. (Submitted by Culloton Strategies)

Downtown Naperville will likely be getting new retail and office space next year as a local developer moves forward with plans to build Main Street Promenade East.

The project will fill a space along Main Street between Benton and Van Buren avenues that has been sitting vacant for several years since another developer’s project fell through.

The new development is in the hands of BBM Inc., led by Dwight and Ruth Yackley who developed the original Main Street Promenade across the street.

“We felt we probably needed to step in and develop this, too, to keep the synergy in the downtown and make sure it was developed properly,” Ruth Yackley said.

The proposed four-story center would add 100,000 square feet of space connected to the Van Buren parking garage. About one-third would be geared toward retail and the rest would be office space.

Ruth Yackley said BBM plans to bring in the same quality of retailers as Main Street Promenade, which houses Coldwater Creek, Jos. A. Bank, White House Black Market and Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House.

“Retail has really picked up and the majority of the stores we’re interested in are expanding,” Yackley said. “They’re not expanding as much as they’re used to … but most of them are excited to come to (downtown) Naperville and not just a mall or lifestyle center.”

Developing the northeast corner of Main and Van Buren was at one time going to be part of a public-private partnership formed in 2007 between Naper Main LLC and the city. The plan was to add onto the Van Buren garage and build a development with retail, office and residential space around the parking addition. While the parking portion was completed in 2009, the property went into foreclosure the following year and the rest of the development never came to fruition. The Yackleys bought the property around the deck last year.

Anastasia Urban, development manager for the city, said the proposed retail/office use fits into the city’s zoning codes and its Downtown 2030 plan.

“It’s complimentary to the existing Promenade development, which we believe is a very successful project, and a draw to our downtown and providing a great street level presence from building architecture to the tenants that would occupy those tenant spaces,” she said.

The city now plans to sell 15,517 square feet under the garage expansion to BBM Inc. for $200,000 and the two have worked out a sales tax sharing agreement.

When the project went before the City Council last week several councilmen questioned the need for a proposed pedestrian bridge over Main Street. Attorney Russ Whitaker explained it will provide climate-controlled access to both developments that would be beneficial to businesses with offices on both the east and west sides.

“If this were anybody other than Mr. Yackley it would be enough for me … to vote against the project, and that’s because nothing kills street life like bridges,” Councilman Joe McElroy said.

Westside Homeowners Association President Veronica Porter said she is pleased with the renderings she’s seen so far.

“I’m confident because BBM and Ruth and Dwight Yackley have always been very responsible, always been open with what their plans are and compatible with the neighborhood,” she said.

The council unanimously gave its approval to the major terms of the deal last week. It is expected to take a final vote in the next few months.

BBM Inc. Vice President Jason Punzel said he hopes to break ground this summer or in early fall and expects the $30 million construction project to take about a year.

After Main Street Promenade East is complete, BBM also plans to add a 66,000 square foot addition to the original development on the west side of Main Street.

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