WS Development finds Wilmette so nice, it will try it twice.
Six months after acquiring Edens Plaza, the East Coast developer announced its purchase of Plaza del Lago, a 100,000-square-foot shopping center near Wilmette’s lakefront.
“We are thrilled to expand our footprint in Wilmette,” said Samantha David, president of WS Development, in a press release. “It’s rare you find a place with such history and innate charm. We look forward to working with the community and the Village of Wilmette to ensure that Plaza del Lago remains an iconic community landmark for decades to come.”
Plaza del Lago, 1515 Sheridan Road, is a historic property that claims to be the second oldest shopping center in the country. It features an open-air concept around an indoor galleria with multiple storefronts.
Designed by architect Edwin Hill Clark in the 1920s, the Spanish-style plaza was originally part of an unincorporated tract known as No Man’s Land. It was annexed into Wilmette in the 1940s. Plaza del Lago was locally owned by the Moss family from the 1970s until 2018. It was put up for sale following the death of family patriarch Joseph Moss and was purchased by Retail Properties of America for $48 million, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
Today, Plaza del Lago comprises more than 30 retail units and is anchored by a Jewel-Osco grocery store and Starbucks. It also is home to Wilmette stalwarts Convito Cafe & Market, Burhop’s Seafood, Yellow Bird Stationery and Chantilly Lace as well as newcomers Clucker’s Charcoal Chicken, Rosati’s pizza and Stride Indoor Running Studio.
According to a March report from the Village of Wilmette, four storefronts are available in Plaza del Lago.
Village Manager Mike Braiman said he expects WS Development to focus on filling the vacancies as well as diversifying the center’s tenant mix.
“We’re really excited,” Braiman said about the ownership change. “This type of open-air shopping center is right in (WS Development’s) wheelhouse. They have proven a really great ability to revitalize places like Plaza del Lago.”
WS Development owns more than 100 mixed-use developments across the nation and purchased Plaza del Lago in partnership with CrossHarbor Capital Partners. In December, the developer acquired Edens Plaza from Newport Capital Partners and announced Wayfair would occupy the 150,000-square-foot Carson Pirie Scott space that was vacated in 2018.
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