A view of the mall's Main Entrance, showing the results of the 2006-
2007 mall-wide renovation.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Zol87"


GOLF MILL CENTER
West Golf Road and North Milwaukee Avenue
Village of Niles, Illinois

The sixth Chicagoland shopping mall was constructed on 88 acres, 22 miles northwest of The Loop, in suburban Niles. Work got underway on the venue, built by Milwaukee-Golf Development, in August 1959. The first group of stores in GOLF MILL CENTER came inline October 13, 1960. The open-air complex was anchored by a 2-level (213,000 square foot) Sears and 2-level (190,000 square foot), Evanston, Illinois-based Lords.

Among the seventy-five charter tenants in the 650,000 square foot shopping venue were Lytton's, Maternity Modes, Kinney Shoes, Father & Son Shoes, Walgreen Drug, Golf Mill Barber Shop, Lamm Shoes, Richman Brothers, Lerner Shops, an F.W. Woolworth and Hillman and National Tea supermarkets. There were also an outparcel Sears Auto Center, bowling alley and (single-screen) Golf Mill Theatre.

J.C. Penney renovated vacant space at the south end of the mall that had been leased by Lords. The new Penney's store opened in October 1966. At the north end of the mall, the new Mill Run Playhouse had been dedicated in June 1965. This 1,500 seat, revolving theater-in-the round was a live performance venue and featured the Millionaire's Club lounge, which became a rather notorious gangster hang out.

Regional malls in the vicinity of GOLF MILL CENTER included OLD ORCHARD CENTER (1956) {4.3 miles east, in Skokie}, RANDHURST CENTER (1962) {5.2 miles northwest, in Mount Prospect}, WOODFIELD MALL (1971) {9 miles west, in Schaumburg} and NORTHBROOK COURT (1976) {6.6 miles northeast, in Northbrook}.

GOLF MILL remained an open-air structure until being enclosed and climate-controlled during 1985-1986. At this time, the Mill Run Playhouse (shuttered since late 1983) was demolished.

A 1-level (95,500 square foot), Bannockburn, Illinois-based Main Street was built in its vicinity, which was rebranded by Milwaukee-based Kohl's in 1989. The 1985-'86 renovation also included the addition of an 11-bay Food Court, at the front of the mall. The next modification of the shopping center added a 1-level (103,000 square foot) Target to the northwest corner. This store held its grand opening October 11, 1998.

Chicago-based General Growth Properties acquired the Maryland-based Rouse Company in 2004. With this transaction, GOLF MILL CENTER became a part of its property portfolio.

The most recent refurbishment / expansion of the center added the Kerasotes Showplace 12 multiplex, which opened in November 2006. This 8 million dollar mall remodeling project also included an exterior facelift, plus the installation of new lighting, flooring, seating areas and reconfiguration of the Center Court and Main Entrance.

Moreover, a 40,400 square foot, Columbus, Ohio-based, Value City Furniture store replaced a northeast mall entrance and associated, smaller store spaces. The renovation of the 1,067,000 square foot shopping center was completed in late 2007.

Changes -of late- at GOLF MILL CENTER involve a switch of ownership, from General Growth Properties to Milwaukee Golf Management (in 2009), the rebranding of the Kerasotes multiplex, as the AMC Showplace Niles 12 (in 2010) and installation of a 26,900 square foot Ross Dress for Less -in existing space- (in 2012).

Sources:

"Golf Mill Shopping Center" article on Wikipedia
Malls Of America Blogspot
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
http://www.labelscar.com/ / comment post by John Gallo
Cook County, Illinois tax assessor website
Cinema Treasures

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