$250M development proposed for Fox River Grove

FOX RIVER GROVE – Developers are proposing a $250 million downtown project that would take at least five years to carry out.

Gart Partners are looking to create a 20-acre mixed use development of apartments, commercial office space and retail. A marina would also be a last part of the project.

For the project to move forward, Fox River Grove is looking at expanding its downtown Tax Increment Finance District.

Among the other topics that will be discussed during this initial process are the creation of redevelopment agreements and possible financial incentives, Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said.

The developers have presented a concept plan for the approximately 20-acre development with the early estimate of $250 million.

"If that's the actual number, it's a significant improvement ... all concentrated in the downtown area," Soderholm said.

Gart Partners also agreed to design and construct the sewer, water, street, traffic control and other necessary infrastructure. It, however, can be reimbursed for those costs, according to memorandum of understanding between Gart and the village.

Soderholm said it could take six to nine months to put together a redevelopment agreement and planned unit development agreement in place.

Phase one of the development would be south of Route 14 and include up to 300 apartments. The second phase would be north of Route 14 west of Illinois Street, and include up to 75,000 square feet of retail, office and service space. The third phase would include up to 200 apartments north of Route 14.

The fourth phase would be north of Route 14 and west of River Road and include a marina, restaurant and lodging, according to the memo of understanding approved by the Village Board on Thursday.

"I feel like this is the right move for the village," Village Trustee Suzanne Blohm said. "We need to do something proactively to bring some development to our village ... with all the infrastructure things we need to be doing."

Jordan Glazov, a Gart Partners principal, said if all goes to plan, he expects work to begin next spring on the first set of apartment buildings. Those would be completed in the spring of 2016, he said.

Six months after that, construction on the retail portions on the north side of Route 14 would be in he planning phase. It would take 12 to 18 months to complete construction of that phase.

The third phase, which would include more apartments, would then take place. The marina might be done by an another party and could start along with the second set of apartments.

Work on the development could be completed by 2019 or 2020, Glazov said.

The apartment buildings on the south side, which would have one- and two-bedroom units, would be 5.5 stories tall, with parking included, Glazov said.

The height of the retail buildings on the north side hasn't been determined and could be a mix of one- and two-story buildings.

The second set of apartments hasn't been designed, but probably wouldn't exceed five stories, Glazov said.

Any plan that does go forward would need approval from the Village Board.

"All of this, including the initial apartment site will come before the ... Village Board in the normal course of design review and approvals," Glazov said. "Everything will be subject to your review and approval. We're certainly flexible. Nothing is going to be presented as a surprise."

The development area south of Route 14 is bounded by Lincoln and Algonquin Roads, but doesn't include the library or Metra station. It also includes an area east of Algonquin Road, where Midwest Construction Products is located.

The area north of Route 14 that is part of the project, goes from Illinois Avenue to the Fox River.

The northern boundary of the development would include Crescent Road, Adams Avenue and Opatrny Drive.

Glazov said he has commuted from the Fox River Grove Metra station for 25 years.

"I've seen the downtown deteriorate, especially with the effects of the Great Recession," Glazov said. "There's a lot of vacant properties and properties are in disrepair. It really needs to be redeveloped."

Fellow Gart Partners Principal Lee Wolfson said the Metra stop is advantageous for this transit-oriented development.

"What we're developing is a true mixed-used development, which in all phases of the development where you have residential, where you have retail, where you have entertainment, where you have restaurants, offices," Wolfson said.

The development group is budgeting $4.7 million for land purchases on the south side of the development. Offers have been made to those property owners.

Glazov said a budget for the properties on the north side has not been set.

"We're going to buy their properties, pay fair market value and we will assist them in finding new properties and obtaining financing if it's necessary," Glazov said. "All the businesses in the area that we're going to redevelop will have to be relocated at some time, and we would seek to provide relocation space in the development or help them find relocation space somewhere else."

According to the Gart Partners website, members of the group's team have spearheaded the Metropolitan Square in Des Plaines, Arlington Town Square in Arlington Heights, the Tabor Hills senior living development in Naperville, and the Promenade Point Shopping Center in Bolingbrook, among others.

Wolfson said the partners have worked on about 70 million square feet of ground-up development or redevelopment.

"We have a good feel how to put these things together," Wolfson said.

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