Economic Development Updates

Economic development has been a major focus of the Village Board over the past several years and attracting quality business partners has been part of the Village’s strategy to fill vacant sites with new and exciting businesses. Over the past several months there have been several major developments and below is an update on these major developments. We are excited to have all these businesses join the Wilmette community and look forward to these and other future developments.

Wayfair and WS Development

At the March 8 Village Board meeting, the Board voted on the final approvals to welcome Wayfair and WS Development to the Village at the former Carson Pirie Scott store at Edens Plaza. WS Development plans to revitalize the center with a flagship Wayfair retail store at its core, filling the vacant 152,000 square foot building. The Village welcomes WS Development and Wayfair to our Wilmette community and looks forward to working closely with them to realize a new and improved Edens Plaza. Wayfair intends to open its doors in mid to late 2023. This summer the Village’s Appearance Review Commission will work with WS Development to approve plans to improve and modernize the remainder of the shopping center’s façade. For more information, click here.

Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant

At the March 8 Village Board meeting, the Board voted to approve a special use for the operation of the Murray Bros. Caddyshack restaurant at the former Baker Square site at 200 Skokie Boulevard. The restaurant will be golf, sports, and movie themed and serve All-American bar and grill favorites. The restaurant will include over 200 indoor seats, additional outdoor seating options, and garage doors that can be opened during nice weather. The restaurant hopes to open later this year.  For more information, click here.

Buck Russell’s Sandwich Shop

In the summer of 2021, Ballyhoo Hospitality, the group behind Sophia Steak announced plans to open Buck Russell’s Bakery and Sandwich Shop at 1137 Greenleaf Avenue. The restaurant is planned as a modern version of a classic diner and will seat approximately 48 customers. The restaurant will serve sandwiches and other breakfast and lunch items along with a bakery serving a variety of pastries and cakes. Buck Russell’s is planned to open in the coming weeks. For more information, click here.

Optima Update

On October 27, 2020, the Village Board granted Optima Wilmette Final Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval for a mixed-use building on the former site of the International Bank, 1210 Central Avenue. The development consists of just over 100 luxury rental dwelling units and nearly 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail/restaurant space. Demolition began in September 2021 and construction began in late fall of 2021. Currently they are excavating the site and preparing to install underground structural support.  Construction completion and occupancy is expected summer of 2023. As part of this project, Optima has donated $1.6 million for affordable housing which is being utilized, with State of Illinois tax incentives and with generous support from the Morgante Wilson Foundation, to create up to 14 affordable homes throughout the community. For more information, click here.

Masonic Lodge

In August 2020, the Village Board approved the redevelopment of the Masonic Lodge at 1010 Central Avenue. The lodge will be repurposed into apartment units for individuals that are 55 and over. The development will keep intact the original historic exterior of the 21,000 square foot building that was built in 1925. The interior will be transitioned into four floors with 16 total rental units. Construction began in late 2020 and is estimated to be completed in June. For more information, click here.

EvaDean’s Restaurant and Café

There is a pending purchase agreement for the vacant Lad and Lassie storefront at 1115 Central Avenue. The plans would convert the former clothing store to a new breakfast, lunch, and brunch café plus a bakery. Tentative plans include using a portion of Veterans’ Park for outdoor dining. The food is anticipated to include rotating farm-to-table cuisine as well as classic bakery items from the team and family behind Farmhouse and Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston. Initial plans for opening are early to mid-2023.

Click here for further details on all ongoing developments!


This post was published 3/15/22.