Mellody Farm, Chicagoland’s largest and most recent ground-up retail development, has added West Elm to its merchant roster. A global design and lifestyle company with a commitment to conscientious design and sustainability, West Elm will occupy an 11,000-square-foot space at the center. West Elm, along with several other recent leases, brings the 270,000-square-foot experiential center to nearly 95 percent leased.
The $200 million, mixed-use center broke ground in Vernon Hills, Illinois in April 2017 and in fall 2018 opened anchors Whole Foods Market, REI, Nordstrom Rack, HomeGoods and Barnes & Noble. Over the past year, The Atworth, a 260-unit residential building that complements Mellody Farm’s retail experience, has also reached the 95 percent leased threshold.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the curation of the merchandising mix that is happening at Mellody Farm,” said Matt Hendy, vice president, market Officer with Regency Centers. “West Elm is a globally recognized, trend-setting brand that adds to the considerable depth and wide-ranging balance of retailers at Mellody Farm.”
Mellody Farm’s leasing team collaborated with the community and mined what residents wanted to experience. The opportunity to discover a one-of-a-kind find, locally owned concepts and national brands such as Athleta—which until its lease at Mellody Farm was not found near the affluent center of Lake County—was a priority for many residents.
The center brings several first-to-market concepts including Lazy Dog and Next Door American Eatery, which are the first to open in Illinois. Barnes & Noble launched its new experiential store design concept with mobile bookshelves to create space for its in-store events. Buttermilk Café, which is slated to open this fall, joins several locally owned merchants such as Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea, Aligned Modern Health and Invicto, many of which have opened at the center.
The center’s architecture was crafted to create experiences that connect the Vernon Hills and Lake County community. Creative design elements include historical design features, such as two dozen local artisan-crafted benches, barn doors made of repurposed wood from Chicago’s Division Street bridge, oversized awnings built with wood from a reclaimed New Glarus, Wisconsin, barn and a building constructed entirely of 100-plus-year-old brick.
“We considered how placemaking drives a communal connection,” said Hendy. “The one-of-a-kind architecture and use of repurposed materials, along with opening up space for the community, all reflect the evolution of brick-and-mortar retail with a focus on attracting shoppers who place a high value on belonging and community connection.”
The center’s on-site events and experiences are tailored for Vernon Hills and Lake County, not what works in another region, and the events will evolve based on community feedback and seasonal trends. This summer, the center launched the “Meet Me at Mellody Farm” series, which is tailored for fitness enthusiasts, those seeking a night out and pets.
Located in the heart of Chicago’s affluent Lake County, Mellody Farm is two miles west of I-94, at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Townline Road. Mellody Farm was conceived, developed and is owned/operated by Regency Centers, the preeminent national owner, operator and developer of grocery-anchored shopping centers.