Aurora's largest retail corridor ranked first in the Chicago suburbs, experiencing stronger retail sales in 2016 than any of its suburban competition, according to a report from retail analysts Melaniphy and Associates.
The Fox Valley Mall core market area, which splits sales receipts along the Rt. 59 corridor between Aurora and Naperville, drove more than $5.5 billion in retail sales in 2016, more than any other retail mall in the Chicago suburbs, according to the report.
Aurora also ranked first in the Chicago suburbs in the Apparel and Accessories category, driven by last year's 255,000-square-foot expansion at Chicago Premium Outlets. The two shopping centers total approximately 2 million square feet.
The report is just one of the most recent economic indicators pointing to stronger-than-average growth for Aurora. In the past three years, the City has added more than $1.3 billion in overall construction value, poising Aurora for even stronger growth in 2017.
The City has strengthened its efforts to market commercial development opportunities that still exist in the Fox Valley core market along the Route 59 corridor and around the Chicago Premiums Outlets along the Farnsworth corridor fronting I-88.
"We are committed to working with our economic development partners to strategically place new developments and bring new projects to fruition quickly while continuing to reinvest in existing properties," said Mayor Richard Irvin. "The development of our retail corridors is a top priority. When retailers are looking to get a foothold in the Chicago area market, we want them to think of Aurora first."
The Fox Valley Mall core market area still has several commercial development opportunities, including frontage along the 150- acre vacant property at the intersection of Route 59 and 75th Street opposite developments anchored by Whole Foods, Nordstrom Rack and Walmart. And investment continues along the Route 59 corridor, with anchors like Aurora Marketplace, Yorkshire Plaza, and a Meijer Superstore positioned for more growth and rehabilitation, driven by 1,400 units of adjacent residential development nearing completion.
In addition, the recently completed widening of Route 59 has increased traffic capacity, and the Fox Valley Mall itself has undergone more than $2 million in improvements since its purchase in December 2015.
"We are pleased to say that when we purchased the Fox Valley Mall as a part of a bundle, we had underestimated its performance and its potential," said Fox Valley Mall Manager Scott Samson of Centennial Development. "This property has performed as well as its peers and our investments in the property and our concepts like our Round 1 bowling alley, which had the best grand opening of any of our properties nationwide, continue to reap strong returns. Aurora is a great investment decision."
Aurora's $2.256 billion in 2016 retail sales is a $90 million increase over 2015.
In addition to its strong retail sector, Aurora's investments in infrastructure have made the City an emerging destination for IT facilities and corporate headquarters, and regional and national rankings have named Aurora one of the best-run cities in America and a top location for young families.