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Developers Aim to Breathe New Life into Downtown

Trustees voted to invite four potential developers to present plans for a portion of the downtown area by end of May.

The Village Board on Monday approved near-future presentations for four prospective developers who recently expressed interest in the redevelopment of downtown Lake Zurich.

The issue came forth after all four developers — Richard Sova, John Bruegelmans/Lucien Lagrage, Moises Cokierman/Michael Laube and David Smith of Southshore Real Estate Development — sought out the village to express their interest in bringing their plans to downtown.

All but Smith — formerly of — are focused on and in close vicinity to the Block A redevelopment area.

Block A includes fewer than two acres of land across from the promenade where the former JJ Twiggs was located.

Sova, who met with village staff Feb. 13, wants to build 125 rental units with underground parking on the lakefront. 

On Feb. 17, Bruegelmans/Lagrange proposed 65 rental units also on the lakefront, with roughly 8,000 square feet of destination retail in the adjacent area. The firm’s plan also would bleed slightly into Block B, which includes village-owned properties on the south side of West Main Street.

A third concept came from Cokierman/Laube on Feb. 24. The developer has plans for 120 rental units in a four-story building with no retail space included.

Smith’s plans, which were presented to village staff Feb. 8, include periphery areas in addition to Block A, and would consist of 364 units constructed over six years. The buildings would be one to five stories tall and built in five phases.

Certain parameters will be set by the department of building and zoning to guide how the presentations will be structured.

“We will require them (developers) to provide examples of past projects, a statement of approach, what personnel they would use, their financial backing and experience in recent years,” said Village Planner Vijay Gadde.

The village terminated its contract with Equity Services Group due to a lack of financial backing and to unmet deadlines, so trustees urged village staff to vet the potential candidates thoroughly.

“We need the developers to put their money where their mouth is; no more smoke and mirrors. There has to be some type of escrow to ensure they have the resources, in addition to setting time frames,” said Trustee Terry Mastandrea. “As they build, they could get that money back in escrow.”

The board also considered inviting the unsolicited developers to focus on Block A, while reaching out to other developers to focus specifically on Blocks B, C and D, which encompass the entire .

That would have required a request for proposal, which Planning and Zoning Director Dan Peterson said would be a 45-week process. It would include seeking out developers, identifying lots and possible building areas, marketing downtown, and finding potential developers and getting them to entitlement.

Trustees chose to focus on Block A specifically for now. Whether or not the four plans are located only in Block A, Peterson said all the developers will be invited to make their presentations.

“Moving forward, we will provide to the interested parties a framework on how to make presentations to the board to gain ultimate approval,” Peterson said.

All four of the interested developers will have the opportunity to come before the board with their separate plans by the end of May, Peterson said.

The downtown TIF district includes Blocks A through D, in addition to outlying areas that lead up to the Route 22 bypass.

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justinsrandle April 17, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I can't tell you how often I've heard from people who say, "I've played by the rules. I've never missed a mortgage payment even though my home is underwater. Where's my bailout?" It's been absolutely crazy that there's been help for those who don't pay, but not for those who do pay. Now there is help check 123 Refinance
DaddyO April 17, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Maybe a few of us will live long enough to see the downtown completed, or maybe just under construction??
jeannine nasca April 17, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I am not feeling to confident about the village's plans to renovate our town with several developers in a piecemeal- type fashion. BAD idea!!! One developer, who presents one design, please!!!
Jim Tarbet April 17, 2012 at 10:29 PM
There are only 13 years left to pay off all TIF debts & expenses. It will be 5 years before a major project can contribute to the TIF, leaving us 8 years of revenue to pay off everything. We then have the question of developing in phases which will delay revenue flow. One developer could never build fast enough to provide substantial relief to taxpayers. Smaller projects can be accomplished much faster and be more organic rather than building a "theme park" which would probably not wear well. They would also accommodate "build to suit" situations better. I think taxpayers are best served by anything being built as soon as possible, so long as they are credible. Both of the last two "One Developer" solutions have cost us great amounts of time and money that will never be recovered.
Lead Follow or Get Out of the Way April 18, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Dear Trustees, one word...Wauconda. Whatever they do, do it too. When in doubt, look for successful business models and study them; this isn't one of them.
Disgruntled April 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM
AMEN to the last couple comments. No more excuses and get it done. Blame everyone you want. They are gone. If you cannot or will not, then "you will be ancient history as well. Everything do date has been a total failure with lots of debt and no way to pay for it but more taxes on the public. If you don't like higher taxes, do something about it now, and that doesn't mean studying it any more. If you like paying higher taxes, you can pay mine!
David R. Smith April 18, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Does LZ really need more vacant rental housing? We need sustainable businesses that can contribute a good share of taxes. I've seen businesses that were doing well, get driven under by the village's hidden agenda or never ending construction.
Jodie April 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I have lived in LZ for 30 years and I have never been fond of downtown. I think that it would be interesting to see the updated designs that these developers have to offer. I would like to see beautiful flowers surrounding the perimeter of the lake. A ferry boat to take people out for boat rides and also a dog park.
Concerned Resident April 19, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Hmmmm
Resident 225 April 19, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Amen to the poster who advised the Trustees to look at what Wauconda has done. My family frequents the many establishments in their downtown and wonders why we can't do the same. Existing structures were refurbished in most cases...why can't LZ do the same with the structures that exist but are empty downtown. I'm sure the existing businesses would love to see more foot traffic coming into their establishments also. Above all get something moving. The amount of money and time spent on proposals and studies has become ridiculous and embarrassing.
Lead Follow or Get Out of the Way April 20, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Jodie, That sounds like a lovely idea, but if you have lived here for 30 years (22 for me) then you would know that hell would freeze over before the LZPOA would allow ferry boats on their lake. The village has no/very little control over what happens with the lake. What we need are some restaurants that are not not the size of shoe boxes serving less than stellar food, who manage to stay in business because they are the only thing in town. Again, Wauconda (and Grayslake for that matter) has managed to revitalize their downtown and many of us go there when we want to go our for dinner/drinks with friends. Neither of those towns found it necessary to have housing as their focus.
Jodie April 21, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Lead Follow - The downtown Lake Zurich area is the size of a peanut. Where do you anticipate putting these large size restaurants that you are speaking of?? Plus there is no parking. They need to first level the whole area to do what you are requesting. There are so many restaurants in the area now that I doubt anyone would want to go downtown when they can be on rt 12. Also, I never see anyone in Delicious Reds either. I don't think building expensive condos is the answer either. Because there is no room for that. I am not sure what else is going to bring people to this area. It will be interesting to see what these developers have to say.
Lead Follow or Get Out of the Way April 21, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I'm not opposed to hearing a plan, but take a look at both Wauconda and Grayslake. Both have revitalized their very small downtown without leveling everything or bringing in housing. They have used the same buildings, not bringing in large chain restaurants, but interesting medium sized local restaurants and 40 something theme bars (martini, etc). Also, they have about the same amount of parking as DTLZ. I challenge LZ residents to visit both their main downtown drags (1 street thru town) to see their offerings; you will be left wondering just what part of this our village government doesn't get. I would like to see a less aggressive plan and at least some acknowledgement from our village government that they or their consultants have explored how these other towns have improved their situations and whether it would or would not translate to LZ.
Jodie April 22, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Lead, you are dreaming, if you think that any Restaurant owner would open up in downtown LZ. The old bowling alley's restaurants all flopped and they even had Gino's with entertainment and they still went out of business. The old Stonegate location cannot make a go of it. Chicago Beef and Dog gone. The Greek one on the corner of 12 and 22 gone. Farmens spent a fortune to renovate their building only to close. Then the village put up the ugliest looking town homes that couldn't even sell. Downtown LZ is a mess. I personally only shop at the butcher and eat at DiPieros. I took both my kids for their braces on the corner but they kicked him out. That's about all I ever did in town. I highly doubt anything is going to attract anyone to shop or do business in town when they have so many other options down rt. 12 now. This is just my opinion.
John B April 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Please don't bulid ROME and ruin Lake Zuich. A nice downtown with cafe's coffee food and stores would be great. Somewhere nice to walk around.

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