Downtown Boomtown—Building a Bright Future in Naperville

April 2014 View more

FeatureOpenerNaperville’s future is looking bright, and not just from the stunning rooftop view that will soon overlook the City from Hotel Indigo, scheduled to open next summer in the Water Street District. In fact, things are looking promising now as opening day nears for the much-anticipated completion of the Main Street Promenade East and the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center. From urban-chic restaurants, exclusive boutiques, high-end retailers and a 1,000-seat convention center, Naperville’s latest additions to the community are a clear indication that good things are ahead for one of America’s top rated cities.

Main Street Promenade East

Long-time successful Naperville developers, BBM, Inc., headed up by the husband and wife team of Dwight and Ruth Yackley, are among those who cite positive signs in the local economy, like an uptick in retail business and a willingness by stores to expand, as good reasons to believe now is the time to build. As a result, Main Street Promenade East (along Main Street between Benton and Van Buren Avenues), due to open for business this summer, will be among the newest attractions elevating the City’s energy to a new level.

“Being able to bring this new development to the downtown is a sign that Naperville’s economy is on the upturn,” Dwight Yackley observes. “We are pleased to be one of many developers that believe Naperville has a bright future.” And he should know, given his company’s successful development of Main Street Promenade West, just across the street from their current project, and given his history as an involved resident for more than 30 years.


Courtesy of Main Street Promenade East

His company’s latest venture reflects the City’s commitment to redevelop the downtown area and will combine some office space with high-end retail, including such stores as Anthropologie, Blue Mercury, Frost Gelato, Michael Graham Salon, and J. Crew, to name a few. The four-story center, with an architecture style complementing the existing Promenade site, will conveniently connect to the existing Van Buren Parking Garage and will link to the Main Street Promenade East by a covered bridge when the project is complete.

Water Street District

Similarly, with the hospitality industry on the rise, the time couldn’t be better for the addition of a luxury boutique hotel. “Hospitality has come back with a rage,” says Nick Ryan, president of Marquette Real Estate Investments and developer of the Water Street District that will be the site of the new Hotel Indigo. “The hotel market has come back extraordinarily well and is projected to have double-digit growth for the next three years, with Chicago currently experiencing its highest occupancy and rental rate in history,” said Ryan.

An influx of new dining options will also be available in the Water Street development. Bien Trucha, an urban-chic, tapas-style restaurant noted for its creative, artisan tacos, salsas, seviches and beverage program, is already popular with diners in Geneva and will be one of two restaurants on the new location.


Courtesy of Water Street District

Blue Sushi Sake Grill, the first to open in Illinois, is known for its hip American attitude, and its fresh take on sushi, Asian-inspired starters, entrees and desserts, is the second restaurant scheduled for the development. Blue’s vibrant scene won’t be complete, however, without its Sake Bombers Lounge offering a refreshing menu of house-infused vodkas, cocktails and an impressive selection of premium cold sake. Those who want something a little more traditional, however, need look no further than the upscale wine bar in the hotel lobby where patrons can also enjoy bistro-style dining or cozy up to the great room’s fireplace.

Of course, the hotel’s amazing Riverwalk location doesn’t hurt the project’s prospects for attracting diners, visitors, vacationers, and shoppers. The design for the new 158-room, 37-suite hotel promises to be one-of-a-kind, reflecting Naperville’s unique personality, culture and heritage, making creative use of local artwork, photographs, and other interior design elements thanks to collaborative input from the Naperville Heritage Society.

“It’s going to be an elegant, urban hotel with a rich, classical feel inside with hardwood floors, rich furnishings, a great room fireplace, and a really neat wine bar in the lobby,” Ryan says. “It’s a boutique-style hotel to create unique ambiance. Its suites, for example, will have French style patios overlooking the river.”

The rooftop restaurant, lounge, and patio will also take advantage of the Riverwalk and downtown views. Whether it’s visitors to the hotel or local pedestrians, all are likely to enjoy the ease of strolling to lower level shops, parking garage, hotel rooms, exclusive restaurants, and a Euro-styled plaza with water fountain and broad Roman-style staircase, not to mention the site’s easy access to the Naper Settlement.

“In my opinion,” Ryan says, “This will be the place to go for leisure, a place you’ll want to go to enjoy vibrant, downtown Naperville and stay in an urbanstyle, very classy boutique hotel, for less dollars and parking fees than Chicago. For anniversaries, weddings, or a girls weekend away, it will be a great place.”

Embassy Suites and Conference Center


Courtesy of Embassy Suites and Conference Center

Those interested in accommodations for larger gatherings don’t need look farther than the soon-to-be-opened Embassy Suites and Conference Center, currently under construction by the Lakhany Group, and located 13 acres west of the Freedom Commons development. Boasting spacious suites, and made-to-order complimentary breakfasts, the 168-room hotel will include a 13,000 square foot ballroom for banquets as part of the Freedom Plaza conference center and four free-standing restaurants. Due to be completed by mid-summer, the $50-60 million dollar complex is destined to become yet another feather in the community’s collective cap and an asset to the local convention business.

The Grand Plan

Such projects and their anticipated value added to the Naperville experience are not accidental. The projects are the culmination of long-standing capital goals regarding hotel construction for both a luxury hotel, as well as a hotel conference center, that the City has been planning for years.

It is this kind of foresight and vision in planning that has enabled Naperville to experience the kind of continued growth that often eludes other communities. “Naperville has a very involved and giving community with lots of volunteers, great organizations and people with foresight,” Ruth Yackley explains about the City’s continued smart growth. “They want things that work and are good for the community.”