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Industrial project rejected for site of Huntley Outlet Center

The former Huntley Outlet Mall is seen June 11, 2017.
The former Huntley Outlet Mall is seen June 11, 2017.

A series of ordinances that would allow Huntley Investment Partners LLC to redevelop about 60 acres of land on the former Huntley Outlet Center site into warehouse distribution space was rejected by the Huntley Village Board on Thursday.

A total of six ordinances were brought before the board, some of which offered special use permitting for warehouse distribution on three individual lots at 11800 Factory Shops Blvd. An amendment to the village Interstate 90 and Route 47 gateway plan – which called for mixed commercial development at the site –  also was requested to allow industrial use.

All six ordinances were rejected by a 2-4 vote, with Trustees Timothy Hoeft and J.R. Westberg voting yes.

Trustee John Piwko voiced a number of concerns, such as limited job opportunities, limited income generated from property taxes and the inability to promote destination-type venues on that portion of the tollway.

“If this plan is approved, the board will not have listened to what the residents want to see built on this property,” Piwko said. “I’m sure many of you follow social media. You’ve probably read what the residents are requesting. I realized not everything they want is feasible, especially at that location, but nonetheless the board will have failed them.”

While the project was in the review stages, Huntley Investment Partners representative Michael Reschke Jr. had said the site was marketed for a couple of years and warehouse distribution was the concept determined to yield the highest number of investors.

Trustee Harry Leopold, however, said that the proposal would not be the highest and best use for the site for a number of reasons, including a lack of sales tax revenue and virtually no measurable economic impact on job creation.

Trustee Ronda Goldman said she would have liked to see special use approval on only one of the lots to evaluate how much interest there may be in the site before authorizing the same thing for the other lots.

Huntley Village President Charles Sass said there is no guarantee that warehouse distribution would bring in a high number of employees, especially when operations are gearing more toward automation.

The last store in the shopping center closed in May 2017, about a year after the property was bought by Huntley Investment Partners LLC.

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