More than two years after the project launched, the first construction phase is almost finished at New Leaf Development -- a mix of retail, office and residential uses at Roselle and Irving Park roads in Roselle.
Demolition of vacant businesses began in spring 2009 to make way for the $14 million development of two- and three-story buildings that spans almost two acres. Workers broke ground in early 2010, creating a new vista that exposes Main Street and Lynfred Winery.
Although officials initially planed for the first phase of the two-part project to be finished last year, Community Development Director Patrick Watkins said workers faced delays while ensuring all environmental factors were sound at the site.
But this summer, Itasca Bank & Trust opened on the western portion of the 41,000 square foot area, and 133 parking spots were created. Several attorneys offices also opened on New Leaf's second floor.
Now there are only 3,400 square feet left vacant on the first floor, and Watkins said the village hopes to attract a restaurant.
"We would definitely love to have an eatery," said Watkins.
Village officials and Roselle-based Janke Construction Co., which is building New Leaf, both initially suspected delays might happen due to the economy. In 2009, construction company owner Perry Janke said he believed the new bank would be the catalyst to get the project moving in our tough economy.
That same year, Watkins said the second phase might be postponed "until the market is ready to bear it."
Today, Watkins said that holds true. Phase two of New Leaf was set to include construction of underground parking and 18,550 square feet of commercial and home office lofts. The parking is built, but won't be accessible until the lofts are complete, Watkins said. He added that there is no set time table for when they might be built.
When New Leaf is complete, however, village officials estimate it will generate about 10 times more property tax than the current site, jumping from $22,000 to $225,500 in new property taxes.
The project will also fill the last major parcel in Roselle's tax increment financing district, which was created 20 years ago near the town center to spur development in the area. The district includes other mixed residential and retail developments such as Village Crossings and Thorngate, both built by Janke's company, along with Main Street Station, Old Main Street and Park Street. The TIF district expires in 2012.