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Skokie's Where It's At, Yo

By Hanna Aronovich in News on Aug 25, 2006 12:21PM

Being the world’s largest village simply isn’t enough. Skokie wants to be trendy, too! And create economic growth. That’s why the village is developing a technology park.

Ohio-based Forest City Enterprises is the developer behind Illinois Science + Technology Park. The park calls the 23.4-acre former Pfizer site home, and will eventually include more than 1 million square feet of laboratory and office space to conduct cutting-edge research. forestcity.gif

In addition to creating tens of thousands of jobs in Illinois, the park is expected to create more than 3,000 direct jobs in Skokie. And, officials hope this will hip things up a bit. The Tribune reported Skokie is trying to reinvent itself as a trendy place for young professionals. "We hope this will lead to a redevelopment and renaissance of the downtown area," Thomas Thompson, the village's economic development coordinator, told the Tribune.

Chicagoist has a history with Skokie, and we know that downtown is pretty much useless unless you need to check out a library book or register to vote. We remember when Old Orchard Mall didn’t even have a Bloomingdale’s, but the mall’s mid-90s renovation was one of the best things for village.

So, it makes sense that some business owners would like to see more Cheesecake Factory and less nanoscale manufacturing. Paul Remias, owner of North Shore Hobby, told the Tribune restaurants and retail is the way to go. "When you put tech in, you kind of nerd it up," he said. "Nerds don't spend money. They have peanut butter sandwiches in their pockets."

Those sound like cafeteria fighting words to us. And, like high school, Skokie wants to hang with the cool kids. Business leaders hope Skokie will soon compete with Evanston and other North Shore communities, according to the Tribune.

Chicagoist thinks creating jobs and building condos sounds like a fine way to promote economic growth. We might also suggest that Skokie invest in sports entertainment. Perhaps a stadium to host the annual Indo-Jew Bowl? Until then, we’ll be at the Nordstrom Espresso Bar after stopping by the MAC counter.

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