The future of the Fox Valley Mall: renovations on the 59 corridor

The Fox Valley Mall on Route 59, first opened in 1975, may be closing permanently in the near future. The mall has undergone multiple changes throughout the years. With several name changes ranging from Westfield Fox Valley and Westfield Shoppingtown Fox Valley to Fox Valley, the mall has kept up constant renovations, recently adding an arcade called Round One. The Fox Valley Mall is being considered for going through another renovation, and this one may be the biggest. Now, the mall may be replaced entirely.

The current proposal suggests that the entire 3-mile stretch of land known as the 59 corridor be torn down and turned into a strip mall, which would be second in length to the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

On Feb. 13, the city of Aurora held a public hearing to discuss possible plans mall renovations. The City of Aurora is looking to tear down the mall and open a strip down the 59 corridor that consists of a concert venue, apartment complexes, a theater, a grocery store, a chain of new restaurants and several retail and entertainment venues.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the city of Aurora has already paid $55,000 to hire consultants for their plan, which is expected to take anywhere from 5 to 20 years to complete. The first step of the development was to start planning a reportedly $29 million senior housing development on 75th and Ogden.

According to both District 204’s official statement and the Chicago Tribune, the plan has raised concerns with the Indian Prairie School District. The school board believes that the increase in residential units could increase the number of students going to 204 schools, but the Chicago Tribune states that “Aurora officials said most of the residential would be apartments, townhomes and condominiums, usually homes for empty nesters and other people with few school-age children.”

The Chicago Tribune also states that Trevor Dick, the development director, has agreed to work with the school district on ways to limit school children. Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Districts are districts that have been deemed unable to draw private investment without help from the government. A TIF district will redistribute funds from property taxes and use acquired funds to encourage development and investment in the district. District 204’s official statement says that the agreement does include a TIF district, which will protect the district from “receiving any property taxes for the next 23 years beyond the current very low taxes generated from the vacant land assessment.” The school board fears that the school’s property taxes would go up as a result of the business development, but the agreement ensures that their current taxes won’t be raised above their current rate.

Still, concerns remain that more TIF districts will be created as an incentive to more developers, particularly in the residential area. This creates the risk of the 204 schools receiving more students from the developments without receiving sufficient funds to provide them a proper education.