Developers show no interest in historical downtown Huntley mill

HUNTLEY – Not a single developer has officially shown interest in redeveloping a 19th century mill in downtown Huntley, even after village officials extended a proposal deadline to Friday.

Victor Narusis, the village’s business recruitment coordinator, said Huntley has yet to see a proposal to invest time and money into renovating a historical mill in need of a makeover.

Officials thought they had at least one proposal after they sent out an initial redevelopment request this summer. But the prospective developer ultimately withdrew plans, Narusis said.

“We believe that some proposals will come, but we have yet to receive any,” he said.

Huntley’s original deadline to find a developer was Sept. 30, but the Village Board extended it to Nov. 1 to see whether more people had interest in the former mill.

Developers seemingly are not interested, with only a few days left on the extended deadline. But Narusis said that a few developers have toured the two-and-a-half story building located at 11801 Main St.

Developers also typically send formal proposals at the last minute, he said.

“These things typically are submitted at the deadline without much advanced notice,” Narusis said. “With developers, it usually is last minute.”

The village bought the historical structure for $115,000 last year as part of its ongoing effort to revamp the look of its downtown. Local historians immediately lobbied village officials to preserve the building after they heard rumors that officials had plans to demolish it and create additional parking spaces.

Built in the late 1800s, the original mill belonged to W.G. Sawyer and John Kelley, two local businessman who were influential in developing Huntley during its infancy. A cash-for-gold business and a cleaning service most recently occupied the building when officials acquired it last year.

In the interest of preservation, officials contracted an outside firm this year to assess the work required to fix the building. The firm concluded that significant work is needed to bring the building up to code. A potential developer would also need to overhaul the building’s exterior, including a new roof, siding and windows.

If no developer submits a proposal by Friday, board members would have to decide whether to continue trying to redevelop the building.

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