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New GM takes over at Westfield Old Orchard

Al Urbanski
Old Orchard-AKERS GM
New GM Maegan Akers moves to Old Orchard from Westfield Fashion Square in Los Angeles.

Maegan Akers, who has worked for 13 years across several departments at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, will now take over the reins at one of its prime properties, which is itself undergoing a wide-scale transformation.

Akers is the new general manager of Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie, Ill., which earlier this year announced plans for a property renovation that will include some 400 luxury apartments with private, ground-level entries plus 15,000 sq. ft of retail fronting a park.

Also joining Akers on the Old Orchard management team are assistant general manager Jeff Rutzen and director of marketing Jenn Velelekos.

“Maegen brings a wealth of institutional knowledge of URW, having been a key part of our success for many years,” said Leah Heil, senior VP of shopping center management at the company. “Jeff and Jenna both possess extensive backgrounds in managing mixed-use centers, which will be instrumental as we focus on creating a more dynamic and well-rounded experience for Westfield Old Orchard visitors.”

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During her career at URW, Akers has worked with the legal, leasing, and business transformation departments focusing on process and technology innovation. She most recently managed Westfield Fashion Square in Los Angeles and has relocated to Skokie to oversee Old Orchard’s day-to-day operations, marketing, and tenant relations.

With the renovation, URW’s plan is to transform what has long been one of Chicagoland’s prime shopping destinations into a residential, commercial, and cultural center in the northern suburbs. It has partnered with the residential developer Focus on the redevelopment.

“We look forward to working with Focus, a premier developer in Chicagoland, to further enhance one of the most desirable destinations on the North Shore,” said Geoff Mason, executive VP, U.S. development.

Rutzen makes a return to URW after serving as senior general manager of Centennial’s Hawthorn property, a 1.3 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use center in Chicago’s northern suburbs that is undergoing a multiphase repositioning.

Velelekos, too, moves to Old Orchard from Hawthorn, where she oversaw events, promotions, and strategic partnerships.

“I look forward to working with Jeff and Jenna to further enhance one of the most desirable destinations on the North Shore,” said Akers. “Our diverse experiences and proven track records in the industry will be invaluable.”

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