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updated: 10/4/2011 5:21 AM

Luxury rentals pitched for former day camp site in Vernon Hills

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  • The Oaks of Vernon Hills project would include the property on which the former Leikam's tavern on Route 45 still sits.

       The Oaks of Vernon Hills project would include the property on which the former Leikam's tavern on Route 45 still sits.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Developers are changing their plans to a proposed 315-unit luxury rental community at the former Kelly´s Camp property on Route 45 in Vernon Hills.

       Developers are changing their plans to a proposed 315-unit luxury rental community at the former Kelly´s Camp property on Route 45 in Vernon Hills.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

A downturn in the office and retail markets and a shift in the housing market has led to a change of course for the potential development of a prominent site along Route 45 in Vernon Hills.

Chicago-based Kinzie Real Estate Group has joined Hamilton Partners in proposing a 315-unit luxury rental community for the 31-acre property at Writer Court.

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The original plan by Itasca-based Hamilton was approved in 2008 and known then and now as the Oaks of Vernon Hills. It called for office and commercial buildings on the former Kelly's Day Camp property.

But that idea is no longer feasible, according to information provided to the village board. The concept will be considered during the board's work session Tuesday after the regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the village hall, 290 Evergreen Drive.

The property is composed of three parcels. Kelly's Day Camp operated on a majority of the site for about 30 years before closing in 2006 and is one of the largest undeveloped tracts in the village.

The land also includes property that housed Leikam's Tap, a tavern known for its hamburgers that closed years ago but remains standing as a remnant of another era.

"The site is ideally suited for a luxury rental housing community based on the high-visibility location, proximity to employment/transportation and the lack of high-quality rental housing in the area," according to information submitted by Kinzie.

Young professionals, corporations looking to attract talent and empty-nesters are regarded as the target audience in what would be the first "purpose built" luxury rental community built in the village in nearly a decade, according to Kinzie.

Vernon Hills officials approved rezoning the properties for a mix of about 150,000 square feet of office and retail in five buildings nearest Route 45. The northern portion was designated as additional commercial development.

The new concept proposes 15 three-story buildings that each would contain 21 apartments. A focal point would be a 3,400-square-foot clubhouse, according to the proposal. Two acres along Route 45 would be reserved for future commercial use.

The site is adjacent to the Corporate Woods business park. Village officials will have to determine whether this type of residential use and its density are appropriate in that location and whether there should be commercially zoned property at the entrance.

Kinzie says there has been a "fundamental shift in the residential housing market" with more people renting as an alternative to homeownership.

Kinzie lists Burr Ridge Village Center, Port Clinton Place farther east along Route 45 at Milwaukee Avenue in Vernon Hills, and Waterbury Place in Buffalo Grove in its portfolio its executives have worked on.

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