Behind the Scenes from the Hawthorn Mall Groundbreaking Event - Libertyville Area Moms

Hawthorn Mall Announces Development Partners for Luxury ‘Hawthorn 2.0’ Apartments

Shopping Center Takes Next Step in Transformative Redevelopment


I was thrilled to be invited to participate in the Media Only Groundbreaking Event for Hawthorn Mall! We value them as a partner of The Libertyville Area Moms Network and we appreciate their desire to connect with and bring the community together! Vernon Hills Village Officials, Hawthorn Mall plus Focus Development and Atlantic Residential were on-site for this Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Hawthorn Mall’s Jeff Rutzen spoke during the ceremony. Jeff was previously featured in our “Meet A Dad” Interview Series. Speakers also included Village Trustee Thom Koch and Time Anderson, CEO of Focus Development. All three focused on Hawthorn Mall’s long history in our community, how it will grow in the future, and how important it is to the region.

Hawthorn Mall, a super-regional shopping center in Vernon Hills, a suburb just north of Chicago (, today announced it has partnered with Focus and Atlantic Residential to build a mixed-use project with 303-unit luxury apartments and 55,000 square feet of Main Street retail on the property’s former Sears site. The news marks a significant forward step in the center’s plans for Hawthorn 2.0, a complete transformation of the shopping center that will create a modern and desirable mixed-use development combining the best retail, dining and entertainment with contemporary residential living. For downloadable renderings of the proposed Hawthorn 2.0 changes, including the new luxury apartments, click here:

“Together, Centennial and Hawthorn Mall have big plans for revitalizing this center,” says Steven Levin, CEO of Centennial, the mall’s owner. “Last year, we completed the addition of the center’s vibrant Center Park environment that turned its Center Court into an indoor park-like setting with incredible aesthetic appeal. And today, we’re stepping up to bat and committing hundreds of millions of dollars to this community’s future.”


After an agreement was reached on the proposed TIF incentives, the center began the first phase of the new “Hawthorn 2.0” redevelopment, which will include the addition of hundreds of amenity-filled luxury apartments, 55,000 square feet of retail, a new mall entry, an open-air plaza designed for community gatherings and events, and the creation of several new outparcels along Milwaukee Avenue. The luxury apartments, sized and best suited to young professionals and empty nesters, will include impressive amenities such as high-end interior finishes and appliances, a full-service concierge, a luxury pool and spa area, and a fitness center with personal training options. The luxury apartments are expected to be completed and opened by August of 2022, with all first-phase construction finished by the end of 2022.

The center will showcase its redevelopment plans and progress in Hawthorn Mall’s Transformation Suite, located on the upper level of the mall near Center Park. The Transformation Suite is open to the public and will serve as an information hub for consumers as well as current and prospective tenants throughout the center’s redevelopment.

When Sears and Carson’s vacated their long-term spaces at Hawthorn Mall, Centennial recognized the change as an opportunity to redefine the center and expand its trade area. In 2018, a partnership controlled by Centennial purchased both sites in anticipation of the coming redevelopment.

Quotes About The Project

“The redevelopment will be both comprehensive and transformative, altering the entire landscape of the center and offering local residents a live-work-play environment that rivals the most vibrant mixed-use destinations in the nation,” says Steven Levin, Centennial’s CEO. “When completed, the design will create an urban sensation in a suburban setting with compelling architectural elements that the residents of Vernon Hills will be proud to have in their village. With this redevelopment, Centennial is making a significant investment in the community as well as the center. This project will be the largest capital investment in the center since its grand opening almost a half century ago.”

“Centennial will be replacing the former Sears and Carson’s spaces to create a dynamic shopping and entertainment experience filled with new restaurants, retail shops, and best-in-class multi-family units”, says Oliver Robinson, Centennial’s Executive Vice President, Development and Construction. “The project will be pedestrian-friendly with an incredible park centerpiece that creates an indoor/outdoor gathering place for year-round events and activities.”

“Together, Centennial and Hawthorn Mall have big plans for revitalizing this center,” says Steven Levin, CEO of Centennial, the mall’s owner. “Last year, we completed the addition of the center’s vibrant Center Park environment that turned its Center Court into an indoor park-like setting with incredible aesthetic appeal. And today, we’re stepping up to bat and committing hundreds of millions of dollars to this community’s future.”

“Before we begin a project like this, we take the time to fully understand how residents and shoppers will individually engage with the property when our work is done” says Tim Anderson, CEO, Focus. “It’s easy to build something new, but it’s so much more important to build something impactful. This residential complex will be the cornerstone of Hawthorn 2.0, combining both form and function in an exciting and innovative way.”

“At Hawthorn Mall, we’re re-imagining what the future of retail and residential living looks like when they are seamlessly and masterfully intertwined,” says Richard Aaronson, CEO and Founding Partner, Atlantic Residential. “The luxury apartments at Hawthorn Mall will be a place people love to call home, a community they never want to leave, and the industry standard for future live-work-play projects.”

About Focus

Focus is a Chicago-based developer and general contractor that uses an integrated delivery model to produce a diverse portfolio of distinctive real estate. The places + spaces Focus brings to life reflect a dedication to impact lives, enhance communities and build value, all while controlling the risk of innovation. Founded in 1993, Focus exists at the intersection of development and construction, offering a wide portfolio of services from real estate management, development and construction services to residential and commercial building and general contracting services. The exemplary collaboration between its vertically integrated, multi-disciplinary teams has enabled Focus to consistently deliver high-quality, beautiful buildings that blend seamlessly into the context of existing architecture. As a result, Focus has an extensive portfolio of completed work that has earned it an exceptional reputation for credibility and competency in Chicago, Evanston, Forest Park, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Oak Park, Wheaton and Winnetka. To learn more, visit

About Atlantic Residential

Atlantic Residential is a private commercial real estate firm based in Atlanta, Georgia with regional offices in Chicago, Illinois and Ft Lauderdale, Florida. It was formed by Richard & Andrew Aaronson in 1995 to develop residential and mixed-use projects. Since its inception, the firm has been responsible for the construction of $2.0 billion of institutional quality properties containing over 7,000 residential units. The firm is focused on developing luxury apartment communities and for-sale condominiums and townhouses. It has over 100 full-time employees engaged in property management, sales and leasing, construction, and development activities in the Southeast and the Midwest. Atlantic Residential pursues a dual strategy in housing development: (i) develop and manage a portfolio of luxury apartment communities under various proprietary brands and (ii) provide superior entry-level townhomes and condominiums, many within larger mixed-use communities. To learn more, visit

About Centennial

Centennial is a national owner of major shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations. Rooted in retail since 1997, the company is focused on shaping the evolution of American retail by creating a superior multi-faceted shopping experience. Centennial properties serve not only as a place of commerce, but a place of community. For more information, visit

About Hawthorn Mall

Located in Vernon Hills, Illinois, Hawthorn Mall has been the preferred shopping and dining destination in Lake County since 1973. While the center currently boasts more than 120 specialty retailers, including Lake County’s only Maggiano’s and a state-of-the-art AMC Hawthorn 12 theater, Hawthorn has recently embarked on a comprehensive redevelopment that will transform the property from a traditional shopping center into a master-planned mixed-use development. This redevelopment, which represents the largest capital investment in the property since its grand opening nearly half a century ago, will redefine the customer experience and expand the center’s trade area by creating a new and distinctive sense of place that will continue to evolve with the community for generations to come. To learn more, visit the Hawthorn Mall website and follow the center on Facebook and Instagram.

Media Contacts:

Deborah Blackford

Blackford & Associates

[email protected]


Karen Franse

Blackford & Associates

[email protected]


Carmen Herlihy

Blackford & Associates

[email protected]



*This post is sponsored by Hawthorn Mall.

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