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$250 million project to develop Fox River Grove's downtown hits setback

FOX RIVER GROVE – Less than a month after the Fox River Grove Village Board approved a $250 million plan for the downtown, the project has hit a setback. 

Developer Grove Residences LLC is asking the village for more time to secure funding to start phase one of the four-phase project. 

“We have not received satisfactory commitments as of this date,” said Jordan Glazov, a partner with Northbrook-based Realtelligence LLC, which owns Grove Residences LLC. 

Phase one of the project is estimated to cost between $61 million and $71 million, Glazov said.

It includes the developer buying and tearing down three commercial buildings and four apartment buildings on several lots southwest of Route 14 and on both sides of Algonquin Road. 

Three new apartment buildings with up to 300 units would be built in the space, according to the redevelopment agreement approved March 16 by the Village Board. A special use permit for the first phase of the project was approved at the same meeting.

The developer was required to notify the property owners by the end of March that the sale of their properties would close on or before May 30, according to the terms of the agreement.

“And because we did not have a feasible commitment, we couldn’t give that notice,” Glazov said. 

The developer now plans to ask the Village Board to amend the deadlines in the redevelopment agreement to give it until the end of August to close on the phase one properties, Glazov and Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said Thursday afternoon. 

“I understand the frustration that maybe some of the landholders have, some more than others, because it’s been quite a process,” Soderholm said. “And it seems like we were very close here, and there’s just another thing that has come up that essentially has caused at least a three-month delay.” 

Despite the delay, Soderholm said from the village’s perspective, the project still is alive. 

Although Glazov said he intended to speak at Thursday’s Village Board meeting, Soderholm said no final decisions will be made Thursday night.

If the board decides to consider amending the redevelopment agreement, it will be discussed at a future meeting, Soderholm said. If no action is taken, the agreement will die, he said. 

Glazov said that although there is a “better than ever” chance of resolving the developer’s financial problems, there is no assurance. 

“We’ve been working on this for four years, and we have spent a lot of our time and money on this project,” Glazov said. “So we are still dedicated to bringing the project to fruition, if it’s possible to do.”

At Midwest Construction Products, one of the buildings slated to be purchased and knocked down in phase one, inside sales representative Chris Laing already had prepared for the company’s anticipated move to Crystal Lake

“Since last year, I’ve heard that the project is going through, the project fell apart, we’re back on, we’re back off,” Laing said. “And, as you can see, I pretty much have gutted everything to get ready for the move.”

Laing, a Lake in the Hills resident, said he doesn’t care if his company moves because he’ll live close by either way. The plans he’s seen for the redevelopment look good, he said. 

“So to me, it’s no big deal,” Laing said. “Just let me know what I’m doing.”

New China Restaurant and neighboring businesses would fall into the second phase of development, which calls for at least 70,000 square feet of commercial space. 

The restaurant has been there since 1975, owner William Gee said – and he has no intention of moving. He also rents out three apartments above the restaurant. 

“Why would I let them level this, and then have them rebuild it and then I have to pay $10,000 or $12,000 a month lease?” Gee said. “… It doesn’t make any sense.”

Gee suggested that the village instead invest money into other storefronts on Route 14, noting that after a fire destroyed his building, he received money to give it a face-lift through the village’s facade grant program. 

Around the corner, Buddy Wiegelman’s business, Dr. Woods Guitar Emporium, also would come down in phase two. 

Wiegelman has had his business on Lincoln Avenue for 23 years, he said.

“As a homeowner in Fox River Grove, I think it’s a great thing,” Wiegelman said of the project.

From a business owner’s perspective, Wiegelman said he hopes he is offered a good deal for the space so he can stay in the village.

As for whether the project ever will actually make it to phase two, Wiegelman was not sure. 

“They could do phase one here, and it could all come to a screeching halt and we’ll be here 10 more years,” Wiegelman said. 

If plans go through, phase three will include no more than 200 apartments along Route 14 and phase four will be developed with retail uses and/or a hotel and marina on Route 14 at the river, according to the agreement. 

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