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Grainger Redevelopment Project

Imagine it’s 4:30 on a weekday. You just picked up your child at Glenbrook North and want to run to Sunset in town and decide to take Shermer. But it’s rush hour. And there is a train… and tons of traffic.

And now… add to the mix, a 383-unit apartment building just south of the train station on the old Grainger property at 1657 Shermer.

We all know that this area of town is already crowded with people trying to get past the train. People zip in and out of the back streets so they can go to Cherry to the underpass to avoid the traffic and the train.

Imagine the density and traffic change that will come from a 383-unit apartment building in downtown Northbrook. For comparison, think of the 770 Skokie apartment building. It is nine stories and has 341 units. That includes at least 500 parking spots plus outdoor parking.

Sounds horrible? Well, now is your time to speak up.

On Tuesday, October 18th, at 7:30 pm, there will be a Plan Commission meeting where there will be a request to rezone, resubdivide, and redevelop the old Grainger site with a multi-use planned development consisting of an approximate 6,500 square-foot commercial building, a five-story 335-unit apartment building with amenities, and a four-story 48-unit affordable and supportive apartment building with amenities.

People talk about density to help our downtown development and businesses. And yes, I agree that our businesses have struggled in downtown Northbrook.

But part of that has to do with the fact that Shermer is a thoroughfare and not a destination. It’s hard to park in that area and people fly down Shermer as a shortcut to get to Dundee from Willow. They never intended to stay and have lunch or shop.

Adding this many units south of downtown Northbrook, will not help our current downtown businesses. It will help the new businesses that will be built in that commercial development, but without additional parking or better traffic flow in downtown Northbrook, it won’t help our current businesses.

The unintended consequences of putting this much density south of downtown Northbrook will be massive. The traffic will increase not only on the side streets but on other major streets in Northbrook as people will try to avoid Shermer. With increased traffic, property values will go down.

While the village trustees might think that we will increase our young professional population who work in the city, as a real estate agent, I can share that I don’t believe it will. The apartments will most likely be occupied by occupants in transition, not long-term residents of Northbrook. These would be people who are going through different personal life changes, home building, remodeling, etc.

Most of these people will not intend on staying in Northbrook for a long period of time. For example, the 770 Skokie building allows for six-month rentals because there is such a demand for short-term rentals. This building will most likely be no different.

This plan was presented to the Village Board during its preliminary review a few months ago. It received a very warm response from the trustees. Now, will be presented at the Plan Commission where they will go through the process of determining if it meets the village specifications. This is where you should make your thoughts known. They will then pass it back to the Village Board where the board will vote on full approval. The time to speak up is while it is now while it is with the Plan Commission.

Do not wait for this to go back to the Village Board before you get involved. You can share your opinion with the Plan Commission and the Village Board by sending an email to by OCTOBER 12th.

These letters will then be presented to the Plan Commission and will be available for public review. In addition, you can go to the Plan Commission meeting on the 18th and voice your opinion.

Your chance to speak up is now.

Kati Spaniak
Real Estate Agent
The Spaniak Team – EXP Realty
Lifelong Northbrook Resident