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Cary sees role in razing site

CARY – The village is in negotiations to help a property owner demolish a vacant building on Northwest Highway south of Jandus Cutoff.

Property owner Richard Selcke purchased the 3.27-acre SMRT manufacturing property to enhance the development potential of the adjacent 10.77 acre site, a slice of which the village needs for a road improvement project.

“The Selcke family parcels are a prime site for new economic development in the Village of Cary,” according to a staff memo to the Village Board.

Under a proposed agreement, the village would reimburse Selcke $50,000 for building demolition on what a village trustee calls an eyesore. Selcke could receive an additional $25,000 in reimbursement for improvements made during development of the site.

The village can pay because the property is in a tax increment financing district, or TIF, which is meant to help encourage economic development.

The village is willing to pay for site cleanup and remediation, on-site detention construction, water and sanitary sewer installation, interior road design and installation, and expenses related to those activities.

“It’s not uncommon to help developers and property owners with the demolition cost of the property in a TIF scenario,” village President Tom Kierna said.

Ted Wagner is the real estate agent marketing the properties for Selcke.

He said Selcke, 94, has made a multimillion-dollar investment in the properties – he would not disclose how much – and wants to demolish the SMRT building as soon as possible, perhaps this fall.

Trustee Jeff Kraus said he is against the demolition reimbursement.

“I see that as helping as a private owner making that parcel more desirable for them,” Kraus said. “I would rather spend the money on site improvements ... [and] other improvements that would be more in line with a developer coming in.”

Trustee Bruce Kaplan said removing the building on the SMRT property is important.

“That is the biggest eyesore. It’s the very first thing people see when they come into our town,” Kaplan said. “If that would be gone, I think that would be a positive first step for us.”

Trustee Rick Dudek said he agrees with use TIF funds to clear out a space to make planned development more attainable, but has concerns the Selcke family will sell the property after demolition is complete.

“That really could be egg on the face for the village if he went ahead and sold it to somebody else,” Dudek said.

But Trustee Karen Lukasik said that if the property is sold, it might be beneficial to the village.

“If they sell to somebody else, how does that hurt us?” Lukasik said. “If they sold it, possibly to someone whose going to put something there, that’s going to help us.”

Kaplan said Selcke has paid a lot of money for improvements to the property, including moving septic tanks and filling in a cavern. “He really improved the vista coming into our town ... and it cost him a small fortune to do that,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan added that under the proposed agreement, Selcke still would pay more than half of the cost of the demolition.

Negotiations for economic development assistance occurred as the village negotiated to acquire a piece of Selcke’s property for the planned Jandus Cutoff road improvement project.

The demolition reimbursement agreement with Selcke, if approved, would be signed at the same time village closes on the property acquisition, officials said.

So far, $1.16 million has been committed to the road project by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the McHenry County Council of Mayors, said Village Administrator Chris Clark.

Some village trustees said they were frustrated with the negotiations for the needed property.

“I just feel we’re being held hostage for that corner piece of right-of-way we’ve been waiting for,” Kraus said.

But Wagner disagreed with that sentiment.

“There’s no one more upstanding than Richard Selcke,” he said.

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