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Huntley Fire Protection District eyes undeveloped Route 47 plot for new headquarters

HUNTLEY – Having outgrown its main headquarters, the Huntley Fire Protection District is looking to move a couple blocks south.

The department is working with attorneys and reviewing a land contract for space at a long vacant site off Route 47 and Mill Street, acting Fire Chief Scott Ravagnie said.

Mike Skala, who owns Goodfella’s Beef in Huntley, said he wants to turn the 17-acre property into a residential and commercial complex featuring four multistory housing buildings and four commercial buildings. The fire district wants to use about 2.75 acres of the property, Ravagnie said.

Skala presented ideas to members of the Huntley Plan Commission on Aug. 14, and said the site also could feature a park area and green space with areas for families to relax outside.

“We haven’t made an offer on the property yet because the whole subdivision is being worked out with the village of Huntley, and once the developer gets that done, we will work out our area,” Ravagnie said.

The land is estimated to cost about $358,000, and still is under early stages of negotiations, Ravagnie said. The district already has enough funding saved and won’t be asking for any referendums or bonds.

“We are trying to get the land purchased first, and then we will work on a space study to decide what size building we actually need for the future,” Ravagnie said. “The district has been fiscally responsible for many years, and has saved knowing we would have to build a new headquarters station in the future.”

The current headquarters, 11808 Coral St., was built in 1959, and Ravagnie said he does not want to expand beyond the four current stations. Three other stations are located at 10590 Reed Road, 1240 Regency Parkway and 4151 W. Algonquin Road. Once the new headquarters is built, the department plans to sell its current space.

The district has 64 full-time and
32 part-time employees, Ravagnie said.

“Most of our staff work at other stations, but we have outgrown this one in terms of the office space needed and space for guys to sleep,” Ravagnie said. “We are currently using offices as multiple purposes, with the lieutenant’s office in the radio room where they do reports.”

Skala said he is revising his plans based off feedback from the community, Plan Commission and Village Board, and he hopes to receive approval from Village Board by the end of the year.

He said he is following Huntley’s comprehensive plan with retail stores along Route 47, high-density residential apartments in the middle- and low-density residential area and the fire station at the end portion.

Originally, 170 apartment units were proposed, but Skala said he is reducing the number based off feedback from the Plan Commission.

“They realized the village needs apartments, and they had questioned if the amount of apartments I had was correct, so that’s part of what we are working on now, is reducing that number,” Skala said.

Skala plans to focus on restaurants for a large portion of the retail space. All buildings will be two stories, and if a restaurant does not want both floors, Skala said he’ll try to get other types of retail – such as an insurance agency, attorney or clothing store – to take the second floor space.

“It’s kind of up in the air until I can get the design approved,” Skala said. “Then I can go out and start marketing this and looking at potential renters to bring in.”

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