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Rentals are a ‘go’ 
at Algonquin's Riverside Plaza

ALGONQUIN – Riverside Plaza will have rental apartments, not owner-occupied condominiums – for now.

The Village Board on Tuesday approved a plan that will allow developer John Breugelmans of Lakeland Asset Management to have 63 luxury rental apartments instead of 54 owner-occupied condos.

The village gave Breugelmans a deadline of July 1, 2018, to convert all of the units to condos.

If the conversions don’t occur by then, Lakeland will owe the village $350,000 for streetscape improvements around the building, regardless of any extensions granted by the village board.

The Village Board can extend the July 2018 deadline if Breugelmans pays for a market study by a private third party approved by the village.

The study would look at “price, size, sales velocity and marketability projections for the proposed condominiums in relation to the reasonable return of the investment made,” according to the new agreement.

Last month, Village Board members rejected a plan for 69 rental apartments instead of the owner-occupied condos. The village board members said they wanted fewer rental units.

Breugelmans sought apartments because he couldn’t secure financing to build condos. The luxury apartments will rent for $1,100 to $1,800 a month, he said.

Retail spaces at the Riverfront Plaza development have to be completed to “vanilla-box condition” before the residential units are occupied. That means suitable for retailers to move in and then customize to their needs. There also will be a special service area created to ensure that certain common areas will be maintained.

“This project fulfills what we feel is the vision and our goals for the downtown for the long term,” Farnum said.

Trustees Jerry Glogowski, Robert Smith, Brian Dianis and Jim Steigert and Village President John Schmitt voted in favor of allowing apartments.

“The idea was to bring people into the downtown, to get a development that was going to bring people back there, businesses back there, going to help enhance our downtown,” Smith said. “I think we’re looking at something that is workable, that’s going to achieve our goals, and looks like it’s going to achieve the developer’s goal.”

Trustees Debby Sosine and John Spella voted against rental units and increasing the number of dwellings at Riverside Plaza.

Sosine said she also was concerned about the $350,000 the village has paid for sidewalks and other improvements.

“I see no reason why we should wait for five years,” Sosine said. “If it’s converted back to condos in five years we could reimburse the owner ... I think the citizens of this village have forked out enough of money, time and legal fees on this project.”

Glogowski said he visited the River Place development in McHenry, which also was meant for condos, but is rental apartments that developers hope to switch to condominiums.

“Even though they had a shortage of parking ... everything they’ve done in McHenry is all positive,” Glogowski said. “It’s benefited the businesses that moved in. It benefited the businesses on Green Street.”

Riverside Plaza needs to have at least 40 offsite parking spaces at a site approved by the village, or pay the village $250,000 to acquire land for a parking lot.

Breugelmans said he has an option to buy a parking lot from Port Edward Restaurant, which is across the street from Riverside Plaza.

“What we want to see is life in that building,” Breugelmans said. “People who live there, walk around there ... and spend money ... We need to get life going in downtown Algonquin.”

In other action

The Village Board Tuesday approved its 2012 property tax levy of $5.48 million. The levy is 1 percent less than the 2011 levy.

Village staff believes property values will decrease in the village again this year, according to a memo written by Finance Director John R Walde.

The estimated property tax rate is $0.613 per $100 of equalized assessed property value, which is an increase from $0.564. The final tax rate won’t be set until property values are set in the spring.

Assistant to Village Manager Mike Kumbera said the village accounts for 7 percent of a resident’s tax bill.

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