Fox River Grove’s Village Board voted Thursday to begin the eminent domain process on 10 properties off Northwest Highway.
The site – bordered by Northwest Highway, Illinois Street, Lincoln Avenue and Opatrny Drive, across the street from the Metra station – is considered blighted. Developers in the past proposed a $250 million redevelopment project that ultimately fell through because of financing problems.
The village in 2015 approved a special use permit for the project, which was supposed to bring 500 new apartments, commercial space, retail space and a hotel or marina to the area as part of the four-phase proposal.
Earlier this year, the village tried to buy the properties, but negotiations with owners haven’t panned out.
Property owner Zia Mir, who owns four of the parcels in question, said the initial acquisition offers were unfair.
Mir bought one of his buildings about 30 years ago for about $325,000, and the village offered $193,000 for the property, he said.
In the eminent domain process, both parties will go before a judge to demonstrate the value of the property before an acquisition price is determined.
The village likely will use tax incentive financing district dollars to pay for costs associated with the eminent domain process, which could take a year or more, Fox River Grove Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said.
Village board trustees Jennifer Curtiss, Jacob Fleischmann, Andrew Migdal and Steve Knar voted to approve the resolution, with Patrick Wall and Suzanne Blohm absent.
Knar called the buildings “functionally obsolete” and noted that there are financial incentive programs through the village that the owners could have taken advantage of but didn’t.
“They are not up to date with retail standards,” he said. “No one wants to come into them.”