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Lone Trustee Mastandrea Opposes Selling Downtown Property

Terry Mastandrea explains why he voted against selling surplus downtown property.

 

When Trustee Terry Mastandrea, former Lake Zurich fire chief, was appointed to the Lake Zurich village board as an interim trustee, last September, the main reason he took on the responsibility was to help get downtown redeveloped, he said.

At the Aug. 20 village board meeting, Trustee Terry Mastandrea was the only trustee to vote against the controversial decision to rather than choose from one of the

“I was furious. I couldn’t believe we were going down that path,” Mastandrea told Lake Zurich Patch. “This is the biggest decision the village faces and if we don’t get something going in the we’re going to face higher taxes.”

Mastandrea said he came to the meeting ready to move forward with either David Smith of Southshore or John Breugelmans of ARDE, or both.

“There were only two that met what myself and residents are looking for—a destination, a gathering place to go for dinner, to look over the lake, with entertainment, maybe have coffee,” he said. “I don’t believe that strictly residential is the way to go.”

Mastandrea said he was willing to go with a mixed residential and commercial plan, if that’s what was necessary to make it profitable for developers.

Mastandrea said he was well aware of with the village and had met with Smith several times. Smith was chosen as the downtown developer in 2010, but failed to meet deadlines to attain financing. Mastandrea said he had a plan that outlined when projects would be done and assurances from Smith that they would get done, as well as penalties if they weren’t done.

“I was looking for the whole package . . . I still believe in a downtown plan that looks at the whole village, not just one parcel. We need more than one,” Mastandrea said.

At the Aug. 20 meeting, Mastandrea suggested the village move forward with both ARDE and Southshore. While developers at the meeting initially eschewed the idea, by the end of the meeting Breugelmans said he was willing to work with Smith as a team on downtown development.

However, five of six trustees went with Trustee Jonathan Sprawka’s suggestion to sell Block A, the village-owned parcel across from the Promenade, as well as other village-owned surplus property.

Mastandrea said there were three main reasons he voted against outright selling of the land:

  1. He said he found it hard to watch as a previous administration was gathering land and condemning it, and he said it doesn’t seem right that the village should now take the land and sell it. “It doesn’t feel right to me; I don’t’ think it’s fair to the landowners the village took from in the past,” he said.
  2. Mastandrea said he believes selling the land takes away the village’s opportunity to negotiate with developers on how the land will be developed.
  3. The village paid fair market value for the land when real estate prices were up. “We’re going to get a quarter of what we paid; it’s not going to be enough to pay our debt,” he said.

 

“I don’t think it’s fair to sell the land because trustees don’t want to deal with the process,” Mastandrea said.

 

“I know a lot of people are really set on getting something downtown and we finally had the opportunity to do it. We have to go into the next meeting with a plan. We owe it to the residents,” Mastandrea said.

The next village board meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

 

Editor's note: Trustee Jonathan Sprawka, who intiated the idea to sell the land, was also contacted for an interview on the downtown decision, but we have not yet been able to set up an interview. 

 

 

 

 

 

Say it isn't so August 27, 2012 at 11:47 AM
they really did the Owners (sellers) a huge favor by taking their land---- never could they realize so much money with no tax's..........
Terri Timonen August 27, 2012 at 12:41 PM
I couldn't agree more with Mastandrea. As a home-owner and resident of Lake Zurich for over 10 years, I believe the Village officials have a responsibility to all residents to oversee the land developed responsibly in a manner that will be most beneficial for everyone. To pass the buck because it's "too hard" to decide is unacceptable.
BearDown August 27, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Terry - You are the only one that gets it!!! THANK YOU. Now we all need to show up at that meeting.....article says September 2, but that is a Sunday. Must be September 4th.
Kathy August 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Thank you Trustee Mastandrea - - - You are truly looking out for the best interests of your, our, community. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
eicy August 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I agree with Terry - it is so wrong on many levels to consider selling off property that was forcibly taken from the original owners. When is the next election? Perhaps Trustee Terry will be the only one to be re-elected from the current administration. In the mean time, lets all hope the rest of them adjust their thinking and make this project a success.
Mary August 27, 2012 at 04:02 PM
TOTALLY AGREE..we eminent domained the people there and for what? Lake Zurich needs to be more dliligent and work with these developers, we need a downtown ..getting tired of driving to Wauconda and Barrington for local nightlife!!!!
LZMom August 27, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Thank you Trustee Mastandrea! We travel to Wauconda at least 3 times a month for dinner with friends. It sure would be nice to travel to downtown LZ.
eicy August 27, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I'm with you on the nightlife issue Mary = there is none to be had here in town and it would be wonderful to be able to support a locally owned business that provides it
Resident Observer August 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM
“I was furious. I couldn’t believe we were going down that path,” Mastandrea told Lake Zurich Patch. “This is the biggest decision the village faces and if we don’t get something going in the TIF district, we’re going to face higher taxes.” Nothing new here. EVERYONE is furious! Do you think the others don't know how important the decision is? __________________ Mastandrea said he had a plan that outlined when projects would be done and assurances from Smith that they would get done, as well as penalties if they weren’t done. Maybe Mastandrea can afford to ignore the past, but the Village can't! Remember the ESG contract? Smith held downtown hostage for 18 months and produced nothing but a string empty promises. So Mastandrea, you met with Smith and he has a plan. It's the same one sold to Tolomei and company. Did he show you the money? If he really did, why won't he show it to the rest of the Board? Or???????
Resident 225 August 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Thank you Terry for standing up for the residents of LZ who have waited so long for a vibrant downtown. Now we need to get behind you and rally at the next meeting to make sure the other Trustees understand that selling the property is the wrong way to go. Trustees were not elected to throw up their hands and say this is too hard and we don't want to have to choose. It is up to them to get this moving.
Don C August 27, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Terry Mastandrea for MAYOR!
Say it isn't so August 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM
geeezzz...... take it easy- nothing got accomplished...... All mayor's are impotent, you need four trustee votes to get anything done
JF August 28, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Mary, LZMom, Elcy ... you are absolutely correct. We need locally-owned restaurants that take advantage of the lake views. Destination places! This weekend, our kids went to sleepover parties so we went to downtown Palatine for dinner and then Barrington for live music and drinks afterward. Had a blast. Two weeks before that we went to Wauconda for dinner. And these were locally-owned places with character, unique offerings, and staff that care. Not unimpressive and uninspired national chain places.
TFM August 28, 2012 at 01:57 PM
C'mon Terry. The properties will never fetch market value with either method. Selling the property removes the red tape from an administration that can't seem to get on board with a single developer. How much did David Smith tell you he was going to give for the village properties? We've been there, done that. Selling the properties in a large block, with conditions on transfer and preference for buying multiple properties (i.e., not selling to someone with a NIMBY issue). is the quickest way to generate tax revenue in the TIF. Let the consortium come back and go straight to the plan commission to get it going!!!! Let's get beyond the smoke and mirrors and blind faith and get this going.
Resident Observer August 28, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Mary, LZMom,. Elcy, JF ....You are absolutely correct we need locally-owned restaurants and other businesses downtown. Sadly that concept went away long ago when a much earlier Board decided the Village would become a real estate broker instead of using the TIF to restore our downtown. One problem with Mr. Smith's version of Disneyland on the Lake will be the lease prices for commercial space. They will be sky high because of construction costs. We won't be able to get D&J and Julio's and new locally owned places to move in.
BearDown August 28, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Resi Observer - are you in the Real Estate business?
Br August 28, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I do like the idea of the restaurants on the lake. YES we have issues to be resolved and firm plans to be placed. But selling them on open market seems to be giving in and up. Please come together as a board and give a very clear vision i.e. how much dining vs residential.
Resident Observer August 28, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Bear, No, I'm not in the real estate business, and it's obvious the Village should never have gotten into it either. So how should the Village get out?
renee August 29, 2012 at 09:54 PM
I agree with this trustee. The village has made a huge mistake. What an embarrassment!
Resident Observer August 30, 2012 at 01:23 AM
renee, Totally agree. There was no doubt something needed to be done about the old Dearborn plant, but the village should never have gone into the real estate business in downtown. Unfortunately, that decision was made a decade ago and we're all living with the consequences.
Disgruntled September 01, 2012 at 06:06 PM
The way to get out is to get people who want to build and sell them the property under the condition that they must build. The market will decide what works and what doesn't. Reality says you will not know if it works until after it's done. That DOES NOT MEAN dump the property. You sell it for the highest and best bid. That means that you have standards & concepts, not themes. I'd like to introduce a new concept - Thinking. Not wishing.
Joe Lweis September 03, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Mastandrea is an idiot. He takes other people's ideas and passes them off as his own. He uses people and take advantage of everyone and everything. I wonder why he got a 12.6 percent bump in his pension before he retired while everyone else was frozen in theirs? Because he sold them all down the river like he will sell the rest of the village as long as it benefits him. I wonder what the real relationship is with him and Smith????
Deborah Barry September 08, 2012 at 10:00 PM
With 1.2 million square feet of empty retail stores in this area and the nonsense going on at the Dimucci property, LZ has a real opportunity. Think outside the box, accept the offers of help made by residents at Tuesday's meeting. Mixed use plus your lake! Amazing. See The Glen and Randhurst Village. Pedestrian experience, destination feel, stay for the day, live and work where you shop and down--and the possibility of retail rents that local operators can afford. Form an Ad Hoc committee of residents who know development, taxation, architecture, retail trends, landscape, entertainment, etc., etc. These people may NOT participate in the final development, so no conflict of interest. I'm confident they can do it in 10 months, not 10 years. Deborah Barry, candidate, Lake County Board, D19

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