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Phase 1 of Brookfield Square expansion not expected to affect traffic

Photo By Rendering by CBL & Associates

Feb. 12, 2014

Plans for the first phase of expansion to Brookfield Square, including six stores on the east side of Sears Department Store, were approved by the Brookfield Plan Commission Feb. 10.

The Common Council also will have to approve the plans before they can move forward.

The approval is contingent upon the city settling on a development agreement with mall owner CBL & Associates Properties, which the city likely will consider next month. CBL hopes to have the first phase complete and open for business by the end of this year.

Plan commissioners had few concerns about the proposal Monday. Alderman Jerry Mellone had submitted comments to the board expressing worries about increased traffic and suggesting several traffic improvements.

"A parking structure and additional stores will create a larger draw, but if this results in gridlock and traffic jams, it will not achieve this goal," Mellone wrote.

But Director of Community Development Dan Ertl said there would not be a significant traffic impact created by the first phase. By demolishing a chunk of Sears to make room for the new stores, and decommissioning another part of Sears, there will be no net increase in the amount of space at the mall used for retail.

"The concerns about traffic really aren't warranted," Ertl said, referring to the first phase of the currently proposed expansion. "When (the next phase) comes before you, likely next year, that's probably the time to talk about that."

The second stage of the expansion will add three stores to the north and east sides of Boston Store, and it will include a parking structure. That phase isn't scheduled for completion until the end of 2015.

The commissioners already had seen designs for the project and said they thought the expansion would improve the view of the mall from Moorland Road.

"I think the architecture ties in with what else has been done there, and it really does dress up a pretty tired looking portion of the mall," Plan Commission member Greg Kost said. "I think we benefit from having the mall as an amenity and a tax base in the community, and it's a competitive market, so I welcome this addition."

Next Step

WHO: Plan Commission

WHAT: consideration of development agreement with CBL

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. March 10

WHERE: City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road

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