Naperville’s Riverbrook Shopping Center to transform to Asian retail and restaurant plaza

rendering of proposed Asian retail and restaurant plaza at current Riverbrook Shopping Center
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Naperville’s largely empty Riverbrook Shopping Center is set for an overhaul, based on details released last week from the property’s new owner.

Riverbrook to become retail/restaurant center with Asian focus

Houston-based NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail — which acquired the 27-year-old, 19.8-acre site at 1523 N. Aurora Road last spring — plans to renovate the 140,892-square-foot development within the next year and give it a new name and concept.

“We are committed to transforming this center into a vibrant culinary destination with an Asian focus,” Heather Nguyen, development partner with NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail, said in a news release. “The objective is to infuse new vitality into this center through the reinvention and repurposing of the space.”

“A transformative project for Naperville”

NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail, which is planning a summer 2025 grand opening, is touting its as-yet-unnamed redevelopment as a transformative project for Naperville.

“Our mission involves attracting top-tier Asian concepts to establish a compelling allure, offering an authentic Asian culinary experience,” Nguyen said in the statement. “It’s all about finding the right demographic in an area with a regional draw. Being close to the Metra is an added bonus.”

Approximately 21% of Naperville’s current population is comprised of people of Asian descent, according to U.S. Census data estimates from July.

Prior to last week’s announcement, the company reportedly had been working to secure new tenants. Approximately 62,000 square feet of currently vacant space is “in various stages of negotiations,” the statement indicates.

Teso Life, a Japanese fashion casual store, is set to occupy 18,016 square feet of space within the center. The company also identified an as-yet-unnamed specialty grocer as a new tenant.

Decline in occupancy over past years at Riverbrook

The Riverbrook Shopping Center’s occupancy has been falling throughout the past decade.  NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail’s news release pegged current leasing activity within the site at 35%.

In late 2013, former Riverbrook anchor tenant Dominick’s began liquidating its store as the longtime Chicago-area grocer began closing all of its remaining 70 stores.

According to its website, NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail has a portfolio of seven properties. The company is new to Illinois — and the Midwest. Its other projects have been focused around its headquarters, with developments in Arizona, Louisiana and Texas.

Nguyen, in her statement, provided a rationale behind NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail’s entry into Naperville, pointing to median home prices in the $485,000 range and a 217,000-person population within the five-mile trade area.

“Naperville is such a beautiful town with strong growth and young families,” Nguyen said. “Our redevelopment, which will offer experiential retail and dining, will be a great asset to this growing city and close-knit community.”

Image credit: NewQuest Asia-Pacific Retail

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