Rezoning application for former Huntley Outlet Center lot requests office, industrial use

Village Manager Dave Johnson says village still considering options

HUNTLEY – Owners of the former Huntley Outlet Center submitted applications to rezone the lot into office and industrial space, but village staff hopes to look at other options before making any decisions.

A rezoning application was sent to the village Oct. 6 and currently is under review, Village Manager Dave Johnson said.

“I’m hopeful we could be having a conversation soon about a project that wouldn’t require rezoning,” Johnson said, adding he hopes that a proposal will be submitted to the Village Board within the next 60 to 90 days.

The property is zoned for retail use, and the village’s comprehensive plan designates it for retail and service commercial use.

“It’s like any other property out there,” Johnson said. “There has been some interest and discussion about multiple other uses.”

The 68.13-acre lot formerly was Huntley Outlet Center, 11800 Factory Shops Blvd., which opened in August 1994, and at its heyday, it housed more than 40 stores. Banana Republic Factory Store – the last retailer to shut its doors – closed April 29.

The proposal outlines a “Huntley Commercial Center,” featuring five development pods and three outlots for various office and industrial use. The agreement said it would be similar to the Weber warehouse distribution center, 41255 Freeman Road, east of the property and the General RV Center located west of the property.

The exact size and location of the buildings is dependent on the businesses, according to the application. General RV bought 8 acres of the former outlet center property to expand its business.

The commercial center would bring in an estimated $1,284,471 in property taxes – bringing about $857,000 to Algonquin-based School District 300, $73,000 to the village of Huntley, and $106,000 to the Huntley Fire District, among other taxing bodies, according to the agreement. The rezoning agreement calculated the anticipated taxes based on 2016 rates and the Weber distribution facility.

The village of Huntley received $5,885 in 2016 from the vacant outlet center in property taxes, according to the agreement.

However, the village would miss out on sales taxes that the outlet center created.

In 2002, the center generated $346,743 in total sales tax – compared with the $124,884 generated in 2015, according to village documents. Village records do not break down the amount received from the mall before 2002.

The village received half of the total sales tax from the center, and the rest went to the developer to pay back the tax increment financing district bonds, documents show. The TIF for that property expired in 2016.

The proposed development would generate 80 percent less traffic on a weekday daily basis and significant less traffic on weekends compared with the outlet center, according to a traffic study in the agreement.

Any trucking traffic would be oriented from the west via Route 47 and its interchange on I-90, according to the traffic study. The current road access from Freeman Road will be maintained and will serve as primary private drive.

Trustees Ronda Goldman and JR Westberg formerly expressed wanting to keep the area retail and commercial.

Goldman said she would love to see a mixed-use space, featuring office and commercial space along with a boutique hotel and some restaurants and shops.

Westberg said he’d like to see a mixed-use development, featuring a movie theater and entertainment venue such as Dave & Buster’s, along with space for athletic programs such as a dance studio and indoor soccer arena.

Westberg previously said he will oppose big-box industrial space, such as the Weber Grill distribution center, because the area deserves to be a marquee corner as people enter town.

Attempts to reach owners Michael Reschke from The Prime Group Inc. and Capital Companies LLC President Rich Turasky were unsuccessful.

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