From urban blight to modern community hub
Other than a thriving bat colony, JB Plaza had sat vacant for 10 years ago as a failed mixed-use project. Community
activists advocated with the Village to condemn and tear down the four-building complex. PCS was hired days
before the demolition hearing to save the property. While the existing structures had value, the plan required
a from-scratch do over to be relevant in today’s world. The original architect and general contractor were
evaluated and dismissed. A new mixed-use concept was developed centered around a grocery anchor. To forestall
building tear down, PCS completed concept drawings, recruited the country’s leading grocery architects and
proposed an innovative design/build phasing process. To maintain community support, we started building while
the design process was being completed–an approach with risks. Throughout the development process we worked
closely with the Village to keep excellent communication. Construction and design teams worked tightly partnered
rather than the conventional finger pointing approach. Ultimately, PCS’ phasing compressed more than 10 months
from the schedule, appeased the Village and transformed urban blight visably.
- Phase1 - Site Work/Building Exterior
- Phase 2 - Market
- Phase 3 Mezzanine Food Court/Cafe
- Phase 4 - Adjacent Retail
Grocery architects Camburas & Theodore, Ltd. reluctantly took on the assignment to turn a highly-visible eye
sore into a much-needed modern Asian market. PCS partnered closely with Camburas & Theodore to carefully
balance form against function. We began by rethinking the store flow and worked closely with ownership to
maximize the efficiency of the store design. PCS constantly challenged conventional one-level design thinking
to adapt to our project’s challenges–subterranean parking, mezzanine food hall and poor road design.
The building shell had no loading docks and unfinished precast panels. We performed a thorough analysis of all underground piping to ensure it was installed correctly. We removed more than 90% of the storm drain and supply line and reinstalled correctly.
The building was open to the elements for a decade and the basement became home to a large and active bat colony. PCS located and hired a special animal consultant to relocate the colony and secured the basement to prevent future migrations.
We expedited all utility work and coordinated with the Illinois Department of Transportation to reconfigure the driving lanes to provide proper entrance and egress to the shopping center.
Phase 2 and 3
PCS next turned to the interior and began construction on the produce area while completing the design of the mezzanine food court. Imported Asian dumpling cookers required special design as they are much larger than the US versions. We worked closely with the cooking team to provide safe and code compliant access to the massive cooking pots–the first of its kind. The space required a security room with store visibility and elevators to access the food court. We worked with leading vendors from around the world to procure the lighting, flooring, and kitchen equipment.
The supporting retail spaces are located in two out buildings. Work commenced on the tenant shell spaces after the market opened to give the grocery retail time to stabilize operations before starting the final phases. All white boxes have been completed and tenants are currently in the process of completing their spaces
Today, JB Plaza is a highlight of the village and thriving home of Joong Boo Market, a 90,000 SQFT Asian market surrounded by 30,000 square feet of adjacent specialty retail.