The Arboretum of South Barrington is an open-air, pedestrian-friendly, lifestyle shopping center development located in South Barrington, Ill. The project was built on an 82-acre site that formerly was home to a true nursery. As a result, from its inception, the design aimed to honor the legacy of the previous land use and extreme care was taken in removing and replanting more than 2,500 trees throughout the center.

The project is a joint venture between The Jaffe Companies and RREEF Alternative Investments. With an architectural budget of approximately $2.4 million, the design mission and objectives were to craft an upscale and unique retail project which evoked comfort, timelessness and a true “sense of place.”
It was imperative that The Arboretum stood out, both in terms of design as well as retail mix, in order to achieve differentiation in an otherwise crowded marketplace. Using design elements such as Tudor-style architecture, antique fountains, herring-bone brick patterns, plaza areas, brick paver sidewalks, sophisticated lighting materials and an iconic clock tower, the designers were able to strike a balance that allowed for tenants to retain brand identities, while giving the public something fresh, innovative and welcoming.

The design mission and direction also helped to overcome challenges presented by the Village of South Barrington, which holds extremely high standards with regards to architectural control, materials, signage and lighting used throughout their community. From the beginning, weekly meetings between village officials and architects helped to keep the lines of communication flowing and expectations and deliverables in sync. These meetings also established a level of trust between the village and developers which ran through the entire development process.

Blending into the existing neighborhood is always critical with any development, and the project architects needed to create an interconnection between two high-end residential developments adjacent to the site. View angles, traffic patterns and lighting candle power were analyzed to find the right balance. A private road was constructed to allow direct access for residents into the center, which helped to reinforce the “partnership by proximity” condition.
Opportunities for concerts, farmers markets, wine-tastings, and other large gathering events are part of The Arboretum’s overall marketing plan. There are areas throughout the project which allow for significant crowd congregation and event staging including a Village Green fountain plazas, and parking areas that can serve as usable performance spaces.

Despite the economic struggles since The Arboretum opened, sales volumes continue to rise monthly, traffic onto the site increases every week and retailers continue to explore opportunities to grow and do business.

Project Name: The Arboretum of South Barrington
Location: South Barrington, Ill.
Square Footage: 600,00 square feet
Architect: Hodges & Associates
Owner: The Jaffe Companies
General Contractor: Ragner Benson
Landscape Architect: Lee Richardson & Associates
Civil Engineering: Haeger Engineering
Landscaping: Countryside Industries
Concrete Supplier: Manning Concrete
Excavation: AA Conte & Son
Electrical Contractor: Rex Electric
Steel Supplier: LeJeune Steel Company
Precast Supplier: Dukane Precast
Asphalt & Paving Supplier: Plote Construction