By JOSH STOCKINGER email@example.com
HAMPSHIRE - It looks more like the haunted amusement park from an old "Scooby Doo" episode than a prime slice of commercial property.
But local residents and officials think the 120 acres facing Interstate 90, known as the Shireland property, have real retail potential.
"Somebody told me they're going to open a mall there," Village President Jeff Magnussen said of local rumors. "Others have said a high-end hotel with a conference center. I guess it's just what day you catch people on."
Despite wishful thinking, a new owner of the Shireland property has made no commitment - or even suggestions - about his plans, Magnussen and Economic Development Consultant Fredi Schmutte said Friday.
Wade Light, a principal for Barrington-based developer L.B. Anderson, bought the land several months ago, Schmutte said. It still contains circus-style tents and rundown stables where the former owner, Thomas Smrt, ran a show area for Shire horses about 15 years ago, Magnussen said.
The land is visible from Interstate 90 and is near the truck stop at the Route 20 exit.
It is within Hampshire Township and unincorporated Kane County, and it is part of the village's comprehensive plan.
"It's a great site that has a lot of potential," Schmutte said.
Magnussen said LB Anderson owned multiple properties in Hampshire - about 250 acres with Shireland included. He said most of the other areas are closer to residential developments than existing commercial properties.
Neither Light nor L.B. Anderson could be reached for comment.
"I asked him of any specific projects in mind, and he just said he's a land investor," Magnussen said.
"He's just open to anything at this point."