More retail, housing in downtown Wilmette future?

Downtown Wilmette appears to a casual observer as a time warp where little has changed over the last 50 years.

There have, of course, been changes, including the development of several condo buildings. The perception of stasis stems from the scale and style of any new development, low-rise and respectful of existing buildings.

Wilmette's downtown has remained a pedestrian-friendly gathering place that draws more visitors than its retail and restaurant venues would seem to warrant. The Village Hall, the Metra station and the popular seasonal French Market are doubtless part of the reason for that.

One aspect of a downtown plan currently under consideration is the razing and redevelopment of the current Chase bank branch at 1200 Central Ave. New construction would add retail space at the ground level, with bank offices and residential above.

The Wilmette Plan Commission is scheduled to meet on December 21 to discuss plans prior to making a recommendation to the Village Board. As with any proposed change in downtown Wilmette, a lively discussion is likely to occur.

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