Hawthorn to celebrate 50th anniversary

Shopping center reflects on five decades, invites community to celebration in September

VERNON HILLS – Hawthorn, a super-regional shopping center in Vernon Hills, will celebrate its 50th anniversary Sept. 9.

The shopping center was built in 1972 and first opened its doors in September 1973 with 15 specialty shops as well as Marshall Field & Co., Sears and Lord & Taylor as the center’s three anchors.

Since then, Hawthorn has changed hands twice – the first time in 2002 and the second time in 2015 when it was bought by Centennial, a real estate investment firm with a national portfolio of shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations.

Throughout the years, Hawthorn has undergone a series of major renovations, including a transformative redevelopment project that Centennial kicked off in 2019 and significantly expanded late last year.

“For 50 years, Hawthorn has been an important community gathering place for the people who live and work in Vernon Hills and the surrounding areas,” center general manager Jeff Rutzen said in a news release. “With the center’s anniversary on the horizon, many people have told us that they have lifelong memories that include spending time with friends and family at this shopping center.”

What began as a small shopping center with a handful of retailers, no food court and no theater has become a vibrant day-to-night destination for the more than 4 million annual visitors who enjoy the center’s amenities and expansive retail, dining and entertainment. Centennial is focused on transforming Hawthorn into a self-sustaining campus where people can live, work and play.

As it approaches its 50-year anniversary, Hawthorn now is a two-story, super-regional shopping center sporting a brand-new 311-unit luxury apartment development called The Domaine as well as a growing roster of retailers, restaurants, entertainment options and exterior event space.

To celebrate Hawthorn’s 50-year anniversary, the center will host a fun-filled, family-friendly event from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 9 with live music continuing until 5 p.m. and food truck sales continuing until 7 p.m. At the start of the event, attendees will be asked to gather at the outer northeast parking lot (near the AMC Theatres) and then walk as a group toward Main Street and the center’s brand-new Hawthorn Row. Along the way, guests will enjoy a series of throwback images submitted by area residents, a depiction of the center’s timeline and mannequins dressed in the most popular fashion trends from the 1970s forward.

Leading up to the event, guests are invited to submit their favorite throwback photo of the shopping center that can be displayed during the event for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree. Photos must be submitted by Sept. 1 to info@shophawthornmall.com. The winner will be contacted via email on or about Sept. 12.

During the Sept. 9 event, children and their families will enjoy a meet-and-greet with popular costumed characters, an inflatable slide, face painting and a photo booth. A confetti cannon and food trucks, as well as a 1 p.m. champagne toast (21 and older) courtesy of Maggiano’s, will add to the festive nature. From noon to 5 p.m., live music by the Ring of Music band will feature crowd-pleasing hits from the 1970s to present. Hawthorn 50-year swag bags will be given to the first 100 registered guests (a $100 retail value, two per family, while supplies last). Space is limited and tickets are required to attend the event. Tickets are $5 for an adult. Children 12 and younger are free. To buy tickets, visit https://bit.ly/3CpBwcf.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois