Economic development booming, staffer says; Berekis paints bright picture as more companies open; vacancy rates lower than DuPage County average

By Dee Longfellow

At the Elmhurst City Council meeting held Monday, June 17, Heather Bereckis, the City’s business development coordinator, gave an update on development and new companies, industries and businesses at the present time.

She began by saying her favorite part of the job was telling interested developers about Elmhurst.

“We have $65 million-plus in active commercial projects in Elmhurst right now,” she said.

Bereckis shared some statistics about business and residential vacancy rates. In terms of business, retail space is 1.9 percent vacant, lower than the DuPage average of 5.7 percent; City Centre retail is 1.8 percent; office spaces are 6.5 percent vacant, lower than DuPage’s 16.4 percent; industrial/flex is 1.1 percent vacant.

The City’s residential vacancies are as follows: Vyne on Haven (200 units) is 30 percent vacant; The Fynn (200), 98.1 percent; Elmhurst 255 (192), 95.8 percent; The Marke (165), 94.8 percent.

Offering a “tour” around town, Berekis offered slides of several new businesses that have recently opened and pointed out those that fell within a TIF District.

She talked about the industrial and business parks on Lake Street and on Riverside Drive, and then shared new businesses in the areas of: Lake Street north York; downtown City Centre; North Avenue and Route 83; St. Charles Road and Route 83; Spring Road; Butterfield Corridor; York and Vallette.

Space doesn’t allow the listing of every business mentioned, but Berekis specifically talked about Nathan Garrett, who is the owner of Sole House.

“Nathan is a young man who found he had a passion for sneakers,” she said. “He began buying, selling and trading shoes and decided to turn it into a business.”

The store previously had a location on North York, and Garrett has now relocated into the City Centre district.

“Sole House offers sneakers, streetwear and vintage clothing,” Berekis said, “but for anyone wondering, ‘vintage’ starts at 1990.”

The City has an “available properties” map, and Berekis said if you have a property available, please contact her at City Hall and she can add it to the map.

“We field five to seven calls a week of expanding businesses or new businesses; people who want to be in Elmhurst. If I could have that information, it would be easier to tell people what’s available,” she said.

She closed by thanking the City Council for its role in economic development and for all it does to help make the community business-friendly.

Mayor Scott Levin commended Berekis’ presentation.

“It’s remarkable. People seem to talk on social media about how ‘The Vyne is so underleased,’ but it’s really ahead of game in terms of where they’re supposed to be,” he said. “And all these buildings—this is our fourth close-to-200-unit [building] and they’re in demand. So, people want to be here.”