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Vacant Mandile's Restaurant building in Algonquin could see new use as church space

The former Mandile's restaurant building is shown Friday. A local pastor wants to use the space to hold church services.
The former Mandile's restaurant building is shown Friday. A local pastor wants to use the space to hold church services.

The pastor of Lifeline Christian Church in Algonquin wants to use the vacant Mandile’s Restaurant building at 2160 Lake Cook Road for services and other functions, he told the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting earlier this week.

Lifeline pastor Dave Rudin said that up until this point, the church primarily has focused on developing people rather than finding a permanent place to meet. However, the church has found itself in an “endless cycle” of growth, then plateau, then decline, which Rudin attributed to the limited space it has had in past places.

Because of this, Rudin searched for meeting spaces, exploring many options.

“In addition to meeting at a bowling alley bar, we’ve met in event rooms and party rooms; we were recently in a dance studio,” Rudin said. “We’ve looked at retail space, warehouse space, banks and big-box buildings and shared-use options, other church buildings. We looked for places to share with others, places for sale, places for lease.”

However, the church kept meeting barriers. Either the place was too small, or the parking was insufficient, or there was too much rehabilitation work to be done to make the space usable, or there was poor visibility and access to the building, Rudin said.

Through the Chamber of Commerce, Rudin said he got to know the Mandile family, and found out the Mandile’s restaurant building was vacant.

“This place solves the issues that have been a barrier for us,” Rudin said. “It gives us the room we need to expand. There’s minimal preparation work that needs to be done, there’s more than adequate parking, and it has proven use as a gathering space where the traffic flow is the same and probably less than what has been in the past.”

In addition, the space gives the church the chance to be part of strengthening the east side of Algonquin and will allow the church staff to revisit things they had to put on hold in the past, Rudin said.

“We think that that’s a way we can add value to the community,” Rudin said. “This space will enable us to continue to do what we’re already doing, but really up the quality of it for the community.”

Algonquin senior planner Ben Mason said that although staff had some initial concerns about the location being on a retail corner, Rudin and his group showed that they are proposing little, if any, interior modifications to the space that would hinder its ability to be used again in the future.

Mason said that although the owners of the building still are committed to marketing the property to future restaurant tenants in the future, in the meantime they support the temporary use of the building for church services and other functions.

According to village documents, primary use of the building would be for a weekly church service from 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday, although it also would be used for functions and activities during the week such as group bible study, youth and family activities and community-based offerings such as business seminars and leadership training.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted, 6-0, to approve the plan. It now will come before the Algonquin Committee of the Whole, which meets at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Ganek Municipal Center, 2200 Harnish Drive.

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