ALGONQUIN – Inside the four-story Riverside Plaza, workers are tearing down the old framework of 54 condominiums and using saws and nail guns to build the new framework for 63 apartments.
After several years of delay, construction of the luxury residential units at 1 N. Main St. is underway. The village issued a building permit for interior work at the beginning of the month.
The interior construction work is costing $7.3 million, according to the village.
In 2012, the village gave developer John Breugelmans the OK to change the project from luxury condos to luxury rental apartments, with an agreement that the units eventually would switch back to owner-occupied dwellings when the market allows.
Since the beginning of month, crews have been demolishing the interior framework for the 54 condos and putting in the framework for 63 apartments.
Bathroom and bedroom layouts have been changed, said contractor Jason Sternitzky, who carries unit layouts with him.
By March, most of the interior demolition and reconstruction of the new framework should be complete, Sternitzky said. They are expecting to have tenants by August.
“If everything lines up and continues to go smooth, it should work out,” Sternitzky said.
When the work is complete, units will have Italian cabinetry, hardwood floors, a bathroom for each bedroom and washers and dryers, among other things, Sternitzky said.
“They’re really set up for modern-day living and conveniences,” Sternitzky said.
Building manager Doug Pace said there will be two floors of heated parking, as well as two elevators. He added the building might be attractive to young professionals who travel a lot and seniors.
Contractors were itching to get started on the interior of the building, Sternitzky said.
Sternitzky completed the exterior decks and woodwork two and a half years ago.
“After that, supposedly we were going to get a contract to come inside and start demolition on that,” Sternitzky said.
“It was a relief,” Sternitzky added. “Now that we’ve got tools on the site it’s nice. Hopefully the townspeople ... are just as excited as all the contractors working.”
As part of the changes, plans for plumbing and electrical, among other things, had to be re-engineered and adjusted, said Community Development Director Russell Farnum.
Before Breugelmans and Lakeland Asset Management took over the property, the building stood unfinished for two years and had earned the nickname “Tyvek Tower,” because it was wrapped in Tyvek building material.
The exterior of Riverside Plaza eventually was completed, but the interior sat unfinished.
With work on the interior of the building underway, officials again can look to the potential economic impact of the development, which is slated to have 9,600 square feet of retail space.
“Having 63 new residential units, with residents, adds 63 more families to shop and take advantage of downtown businesses,” Farnum said.
A leasing office is scheduled to be available on-site beginning in April, according to the village.
“Riverside Plaza is an example of how holding the line and sticking to a long-term development strategy continues to benefit our community,” Village President John Schmitt said in a news release. “This project represents a significant step toward ensuring the long-term economic and cultural viability of our historic downtown.”
As part of the interior work of the Riverside Plaza project, westbound traffic on Front Street is scheduled to be closed until mid-May, according to the village.
Workers are using half of the street for staging, including a dumpster for the project.
People who want to go west on Front Street should use Algonquin Road as a detour.
Access to The Texan BBQ is available from Route 31, said Russell Farnum, community development director for the village.