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Illinois town works to resuscitate its big mall

Centennial's Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, Ill.

After Sears and Carsons closed two years ago, more than a third of Hawthorn Mall’s space became unoccupied. But the town of Vernon Hill, where the super-regional has been a huge draw since it opened in 1973, set to work to see to help reinvigorate the Centennial Real Estate property.

An Aug. 13 hearing has been set to review tax increment financing for Hawthorn Mall that could help it embark on a $250 million renovation, according to a report in the Daily Herald, which covers suburban Chicago.

A public hearing will then take place in October to seek approval of the TIF deal, allowing renovations to begin by the end of the month.

"It's significant in the fact the timeline has been established," village manager Mark Fleischhauer told the Herald. "I think everyone in the community realizes the importance of this project." 

If approved, the 63-acre TIF district—which does not include the self-owned Macy’s and J.C. Penney anchors—will have property tax disbursements frozen at current levels. Any additional tax revenue generated by rising property values would go into a fund to pay for improvements within the district.

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