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updated: 8/9/2011 6:47 AM

Libertyville considers settlement for former grocery site

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  • Crews with American Demolition in February 2010 remove the metal frame of what was intended to be a Fresh Foods grocery on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville.

       Crews with American Demolition in February 2010 remove the metal frame of what was intended to be a Fresh Foods grocery on Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 

A settlement regarding the site of a failed grocery store planned for Milwaukee Avenue in Libertyville could end the village's involvement in what has become a classic `What if?' scenario.

Removing a village lien on the property at 1600 South Milwaukee Ave. also would bring the owner a step closer to securing a clear title and getting the high-profile property on the market.

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The village board on Tuesday will consider a negotiated agreement with MB Financial Bank for $61,500 in exchange for dismissal of a demolition lien against the property once occupied by Frank's Nursery & Crafts.

That business folded several years ago and village officials were ecstatic when an investment group proposed a $10 million specialty grocery store to be known as Fresh Foods.

A building permit was issued in March 2007 for the store, which was to have featured a range of natural and gourmet foods patterned after the Central Market chain in Texas.

But problems developed and a partially completed steel structure was left as an eyesore on the village's southern boundary. The village filed suit and the structure was demolished and the site cleared in early 2010.

The village then filed a demolition lien against the property for $65,000.

Meanwhile, the mortgage holder, Broadway Bank, was closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the assets acquired by MB Financial, which is seeking to complete a foreclosure in order to secure a clear title, according to the village.

Whether the village's lien is the only or last one associated with the property is unclear. An MB employee associated with the property could not be reached for comment Monday.

If accepted, the negotiated settlement ends the village's claim. The board considers the matter at its regular meeting beginning at 8 p.m. at village hall, 118 West Cook Ave.

"That's one more step in getting closer to finalizing the foreclosure agreement," said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator.

Getting a new user for what Rowe described as "an ideal retail site," is important to village officials, who have been dealing with the impact of a Mariano's Fresh Market, which opened in June across the street in Vernon Hills.

The village has stepped up its "Shop Libertyville!" campaign and Mayor Terry Weppler has bagged groceries and greeted customers at Jewel and Sunset Foods as part of the effort.

"There's very strong interest by a number of retailers and developers," Rowe said of the failed Fresh Foods site. "A lot of people are waiting in the wings for the bank to clear everything up."

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