Prairie Crossing’s town center

The developers of Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, Illinois, 40 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop, are creating a mixed-use town center adjacent to two Metra rail stations served by a total of 57 commuter trains each weekday. Ben Ranney, whose firm Terra Firma focuses on sustainability and green building, says the center, known as Station Square, has been designed to have 36 condominium units in three structures — the Wacker, Burnham, and Bennett Buildings, each named for a great Chicago urban planner. All three buildings are now complete, and the first residents have moved into Station Square.

In addition to the condos, the newly developing center features retail shops, restaurants, and offices. A neighborhood coffeehouse, a children’s bookstore, and several other tenants are already operating. At completion, Station Square will include up to 51,000 sq. ft. of retail and 20,000 sq. ft. of offices. Station Square is part of an 82-acre neighborhood of Prairie Crossing that also includes110 detached houses on small lots. It has been submitted to the US Green Building Council’s LEED-Neighborhood Development pilot program.

Prairie Crossing, a 676-acre development begun by George A. Ranney Jr. and Victoria Post Ranney in the early 1990s, is about a 70-minute train ride from downtown Chicago. A total of 359 single-family houses were built and sold there between 1994 and 2005.