High-end rental community proposed for Kelly's Day Camp in Vernon Hills
An artist rendering shows a potential concept for the type of luxury rental housing being proposed for the former Kelly's Day Camp on Route 45 in Vernon Hills.
Courtesy Village of Vernon Hills
A revised plan for a luxury rental community on property once occupied by a popular day camp along Route 45 in Vernon Hills is being regarded warily by village officials, who have questions about traffic, parking and other issues.
Kinzie Real Estate Group LLC of Chicago is proposing 304 apartments in 16 buildings as a self-contained community on the site of the former Kelly's Day Camp and surrounding property.
Several changes, including the introduction of elevator flats and rowhomes as two distinct types of offerings and more open space, have been made since Kinzie last fall presented the plan for the Oaks of Vernon Hills.
Information provided to the village shows rental prices would range from $1,250 to $2,400 per month in what the company regards as desirable commodity for young professionals, empty nesters, relocating families and corporate employees.
Developers said the project would be well received because of a shift away from single-family homes in recent years and a lack of a comparable luxury rental options in the area.
Financing is harder to get, younger buyers want mobility and are waiting longer to buy, housing is considered more a need than investment and empty nesters want to minimize the cost of living without committing to a mortgage, Kinzie officials noted.
"We see this as a long term rental community, purpose built," Warren James, manager of development services for Kinzie, told trustees Tuesday during an informal work session.
As proposed, the plan includes walking paths, pocket parks, open space, a clubhouse and other amenities and would include a full-time, on-site management and maintenance staff.
The site, which abuts the Corporate Woods business park, "provides a unique opportunity to offer a popular for-sale project in a luxury rental format," according to Kinzie.
The 31-acre site has been vacant for several years. The board three years ago approved a plan for extensive office, industrial and retail space but that project didn't come to pass. Kinzie said its plan would generate less traffic but the village board wants proof.
Public Works Director David Brown agreed that would be the case but needs more complete information.
"We need to know that this will work," Brown said. "If this project is to move forward, it's very important we get a full traffic study."
Trustees agreed that should be done before a deciding whether to approve the project for a detailed review and eventual public hearing.
Trustees agreed the plan was attractive and generally acknowledged the need for this type of housing. But staff had other considerations, such as the area being disconnected from the "residential core" of the community.
"Is this the appropriate location for this type of property?" assistant village manager John Kalmar asked. "Development for the sake of development isn't necessarily good. Have we found the right use? I don't know. It's a struggle for me."
The board deferred an informal decision until a traffic study is available, which will be at least a month and likely longer.
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