Brickyard Shopping Center
Diversey & Narragansett St.
Location: Belmont-Craigin (North West Side of Chicago, IL)
Brickyard Mall has a history all its own. Once a two-level structure that brought life to the neighborhood of Cragin, the mall slowly deteriorated as the growing need for updates, due to changes in trends of how Chicagoans were shopping, increased. Major names such as K-Mart, JC Penney, KB Toys and more filled the building and as time progressed and the habits of shoppers changed, the enclosed building was no longer the "hot spot" it had been.
Many of the stores were forced to close and developers of Brickyard had to truly think of what to do with this massive building and the plot of land it resided upon. Many notions were passed-over, as it was suggested that low-income housing be developed in the mall's stead. This did not settle well with the community and was dropped as an idea. Luxury condominium developments was another choice, however this idea did not go over to well either, as Belmont-Craigin is a diverse, family-oriented community, so the structure would have to benefit the community as a whole.
The New Brickyard
Finally developers set into motion a major transition of the mall to suit the needs of trendy shoppers as well as the community. Now the AJ Wright Bricktown Center, formerly known as Brickyard Mall, encompasses a Lowe's to aid residence in upgrading and maintaining their homes, numerous retailers line the outdoor mall facility and the neighborhood seems to enjoy the new design. The major redevelopment began in 2004 and major retailers have quickly taken up space in the new design which features 2,000 + parking spaces, restaurants, retailers, grocery store and more.