With close to 100,000 motorists passing by each day, the intersection of Parker Road and South Havana Street is among the city’s busiest.
The red brick building that borders Havana was once home to Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants, a bridal shop and a credit union.
Today, just the credit union remains, but that could be changing in the coming months.
According to city documents, developers with Kimco Realty are planning to redevelop the east side of the 13-acre project, and the current vacancies there are part of that plan.
It isn’t clear from city documents when the building could be razed, and Kimco officials did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
But in the meantime, the developer is tackling the west side of the development.
According to plans submitted to the city, Kimco plans to raze the old Le Peep location on the west side of the Village on the Park development and replace it with a new building.
The new building will house a bank with a drive-through lane and a restaurant, though the names of the tenants weren’t included in the plans. While the Le peep building is about 4,200 square feet, the new one will be substantially larger at between 5,600 and 6,000 square feet, according to plans filed with the city.
According to the Havana Business Improvement District, the building is set for demolition in 2016.
Kimco also recently purchased the building that used to house the now shuttered Dora’s Mexican Restaurant, also on the west side of the property, according to the BID.
Already, much of the north side of the center has been redeveloped. The Havana BID cited new facades on the Shoe Carnival and TJ Maxx stores as successes in their 2015 annual report, and said continued redevelopment there is key. At the July 22 city planning commission meeting where the commission approved the plans for the Le Peep site, Commissioner Michigan Hill wondered why the developers were investing so heavily on the west side of the development when so much on the east side remains largely vacant.
Rick Turner of Kimco told Hill that the current vacancies are part of a plan to redevelop the east side, and “change the whole outlook of the center,” according to minutes from the meeting. He said the development could also include additional pads for other buildings.
Whatever the redevelopment looks like, Hill said developers should strive to make the shopping center more appealing from the Havana side, which is largely vacant today.
Turner said while there are plans in place to redevelop the red-brick building on the development’s east side, there are no plans to change the Ross store to the north.
“It’s right on the big corner, with all the traffic so it’s highly visible to a lot of people,” Jetchick said.
According to the City of Aurora’s traffic counts, Havana and Parker both see upward of 50,000 vehicles each day near the center.
And beyond that, the center is one of the corridor’s biggest in terms of acreage, she said.
“Its really an important piece,” she said.
Still, the dated layout, which includes many business facing the inside of the shopping center instead of those two busy streets, presents some visibility challenges, she said.
The new development will likely include smaller “pods” that have better visibility to Havana, Jetchick said. The new development will also have a “more-upscale look” similar to the updated facades at Shoe Carnival and TJ Maxx, she said.