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40-unit housing development pitched for Haber Oaks

40-unit housing development would target residents 55 and older

The former Haber Oaks campus is seen Wednesday in Cary.
The former Haber Oaks campus is seen Wednesday in Cary.

A developer is proposing the transformation of the former Haber Oaks campus into a 40-unit housing development targeting residents 55 and older.

David Cook – the same man behind the eight-duplex Harper Point Development at the nearby intersection of Harper Avenue and Haber Road – pitched his idea Tuesday to the Cary Village Board, and officials seemed optimistic.

“I love that you’re re-using the school,” Trustee Kim Covelli said. “I think that’s a great idea. I like that a lot. I’ll be very curious to see what you do with that and what you come up with.”

What Cook wants to do with the
2.8-acre property at 400 Haber Road is refurbish the first floor, remove the building’s flat roof and add a second story.

The development would include 16 townhome units, including both two- and three-bedroom floor plans and ranging in size from 1,400 to 1,800 square feet.

Each unit would come with a two-car attached garage.

Cook’s vision also includes 24 multifamily units constructed within the current footprint of the existing school building, according to a Feb. 21 letter he wrote to village officials. The multifamily units will be one to two bedrooms and range in size from 750 to 1,200 square feet.

“I’m passionate about designing housing product for that 55-and-older crowd,” Cook said. “I’ve gone through it with my parents. I’m going through it with my in-laws now. There’s just a demand everywhere in Chicago and for more of this housing.”

Trustee Jennifer Weinhammer raised concerns about whether the development would be age-restricted to 55 and older. It is not, Mayor Mark Kownick said. The development would be “targeted” to that age group.

Weinhammer said she doesn’t want the development to be marketed as 55 and older if there are no age restrictions for potential tenants.

Trustee Ellen McAlpine applauded the project addressing a hole in the housing market.

“Seniors want to age in place, and we need options for them in Cary,” McAlpine said. “I want to have options [for] our seniors who have lived here all their life.”

The senior community has offered feedback about the need for such a project, Kownick said:

“I had a meeting with a couple seniors over the weekend, and they’re frustrated that we don’t have enough [housing options].”

The developer has a contract with Community High School District 155 to explore options for the site, Cook said.

In February 2018, the school board voted to close Haber Oaks. The 13,000-square-foot property previously housed the district’s alternative education program, which was relocated to Crystal Lake South High School last summer. The main building is about 13,000 square feet and sits on about three acres.

Relocating the school was projected to save the district about $70,000 a year, according to district documents. The board agreed to sell the property to Elm Tree Properties LLC in August and approved a minimum acceptable bid of $700,000.

The next step, Kownick said, is Cook will return to the village board with an amended site plan. Renderings should be forthcoming.

“If we receive [approval] we’re going to hit the ground running,” Cook said.

The approval process could take six to seven months. Cook said he hopes to get construction started next winter before spring rains arrive. Construction could take two to three years, he said.

Kownick said he’s excited about the possibilities of the project.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Kownick said. “It will alleviate some of the housing needs we have in Cary. The product he’s producing is very nice.”

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