How to Make Deerbrook Mall a Destination

The perfect formula to make Deerbrook Mall the place to be: my wish list.

Deerbrook Mall will hopefully, at some point, undergo a major facelift. What this will look like and how it can turn around Deerfield as a destination, have yet to be seen.

Right now, Deerbrook Mall is the place you stop to grab something on your way to the “real” mall. Whether that would be Old Orchard, Northbrook Court or even, dare I say, Hawthorn? But that is really what it has become.


So here is my wish list to make Deerbrook Mall a destination.

The first thing I would do in my “dream” wish list for the mall at the southwest corner of Lake Cook and Waukegan Road is change the actual name of the mall. Deerbrook Mall has become synonymous with a desolate, death zone for so many stores it needs to be given a new life, which can start with a new name. I haven’t come up with what that is of yet, so suggestions are welcome.

To become a destination, the mall needs a flagship store. Some place that will attract other stores and bring people to the mall. After some careful consideration, my top three flagship stores that I would love to see nearby are Costco, Target or Nordstrom. All three are within a reasonable driving distance but far enough away that each one would clearly draw a huge customer base. And all three would make Deerbrook Mall (or whatever it might be renamed) a destination.

The mall needs to have a grocery option. The Jewel store currently based in the mall needs an overhaul. But, if Jewel does not stay for whatever reason, let’s bring Mariano’s here, or Fresh Farms. Both offer excellent grocery shopping options at great prices with good quality and good service. 

To make Deerbrook Mall a destination there needs to be something to do. Back in the day when I was a kid, Deerbrook Mall had a movie theatre. While I recognize Northbrook Court is nearby, what about putting a “cheap” theatre into the mall, along the lines of the Buffalo Grove or Highland Park Theatre. Or even an upscale theatre like at Renaissance Place? Another way to make the mall a destination. It would be a huge asset.

Another activity based option is to put in an indoor mini golf course. This would bring people to the mall for an afternoon or evening—not just a stop on the way. See a movie, have dinner, play some mini golf, get some ice cream.  

A mall also needs food options. Current offerings include Noodles & Co., Starbucks and Subway. While all nice options, lets pull in a Cheesecake Factory, a Portillo’s and a local upscale but affordable restaurant along the lines of Jerry’s in Winnetka or Market House in Lake Forest. And of course, there has to be an ice cream/yogurt option available. Frost, anyone?

With current Deerbrook Mall residents hopefully remaining at the mall including , , Carter’s, Ulta, , , Gamestop, and Famous Footwear among others, I would love to see The Children’s Place return to Deerfield, as well as Kohl’s, Discovery, Michael’s, DSW Warehouse, Journeys—make Deerfield a shopping destination. Make it a place where you can spend an afternoon or evening-make it a destination. And for heaven’s sake—a new name.

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Bringin' Down Briarwood September 08, 2012 at 11:38 PM
"Beat up the owner?" How much worse can you be beaten than having your property half empty for more than a two years (and that's being extremely generous). I'd love to sit in on the meetings between the guy who actually manages this property and his boss. There HAS to be a reason is has been so pitifully run for xx years.
Elizabeth Fish September 11, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Great ideas! Love the idea of the Old Navy, Super Walmart & the Outlet Center! All would be welcome additions!! I also would be thrilled to see a French Farmers Market, jazz club or an art gallery-was trying to consider things that were possible, not sure that is in the realm of possibility but I love the concept! Thats really what is needed-a GREAT CONCEPT! Thanks for the contributions.
Walter White September 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Was this official on the wrong side of 80, by any chance?
Billy September 21, 2012 at 05:01 PM
I don't think it needs to change the name entirely. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the name "Deerbrook." The term "Mall", however, has become dated, considering how trends in shopping have moved away from the overall enclosed "mall" concept, of which it is typically associated. I think something like Deerbrook Center or Deerbrook Square would be perfectly good names to adopt.
Mike Razzoog December 18, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I like the concept and the thinking. I've seen it work in other communities, be it downtown or suburban. So many folks would love to have a "touch of city" up here vs. another suburban strip mall with bad stores. Making deerbrook a second store destination of choice for successful small businesses would be a win/win.


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