Cermak Plaza | Berwyn, Illinois
Located in the suburbs of Chicago, Cermak Plaza is not just another shopping center. Since its opening in 1956, at the height of America’s suburban shopping mall construction boom, the plaza has experienced a rich history which includes cameo appearances in Hollywood movies (1992’s “Wayne’s World” featuring Mike Meyers and 2008’s “Wanted” starring Angelina Jolie) and visionary displays of contemporary art sculptures introduced by founder and passionate patron of the arts, David Bermant.
Being over half a century old and offering 300,000 square feet of retail space, Cermak Plaza has an excellent location but was starting to show its age; it began to face intense competition in its trade area.
Concordia Realty started Cermak Plaza’s turnaround by replacing low volume tenants with dynamic retailers like Circuit City, Office Depot, Party City and Shoe Carnival. All leases were completed on an “as is” basis with free rent credits given towards the tenant’s construction costs. In two new leases, Concordia Realty was able to secure loans from the new tenants to buyout and replace existing Sears and G.C. Murphy leases.
The owners began planning a dramatic revitalization of the property that would bring new occupants back to this local landmark. Ethos Workshop, Architects and Planners was commissioned to lead the design effort for the multi-million dollar project, which included a complete façade redevelopment. Ethos Workshop turned immediately to LEDs, recognizing that no other technology would satisfy the stringent demands of the project. The chosen solution using Lumenpulse RGB fixtures combined an artistic design aesthetic with modern, energy saving clean technology, as well as long product life and low maintenance costs.
The solution also takes the greener element of LEDs a step further; Cermak Plaza powers the RGB fixtures with 12 wind turbines that cultivate energy from the edge of the plaza’s parking lot. In combination with the energy efficient lighting, the 35 foot tall turbines are a dynamic, visible and recognizable environmental statement as well as artistic feature that generates 1,500 to 2,500 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. During the daytime, when the LED fixtures are off, unused power is directed back to the grid.
The architectural design and lighting combination has created not only a powerful design statement, but even more importantly spectacular business results. The investment has paid off on the business side, and the renovation has inspired increased commercial interest culminating in recent leases to Meijer and K&G, bringing the property to 98% occupancy.
The plaza is currently completing phase two of the project – renovating another marquee tower and the canopy on the east wing using more RGB fixtures.