A long-planned expansion for Harry's of Arlington finally will get under way this year after the Arlington Heights Village Board approved another 12-month extension for the project.
The village board first approved an expansion plan for the downtown staple at 1 N. Vail Ave. in 2009. The proposal includes a 1,500-square-foot addition along the north side of the restaurant. When construction hadn't yet begun in September 2011, trustees granted owners their first one-year extension.
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This latest extension, approved by trustees Tuesday, will be the last, said the restaurant's owners who assured officials they are ready to start construction this year after several family tragedies derailed the process.
"Over the last few years I have lost my mother and father and have not really had the energy to focus on constructing the new addition," owner Greg McCollum told the village's plan commission in July.
McCollum's parents were the former owners of Harry's. Patricia McCollum passed away in 2010, but several of her original recipes remain on the menu. Harry McCollum passed away in August 2011.
"My family and I are now ready to proceed forward and we do intend to secure the financing and permits so that we can begin construction within the year," Greg McCollum said.
He said Harry's is not in financial trouble, dispelling what he called rumors that have been floating around town.
"The restaurant is doing very well and we are very stable and viable," McCollum added. "I want to ensure the village that we are not going anywhere."
Trustees this week approved the extension to the planned unit development (PUD) ordinance by a vote of 7-0.
"Harry's has been a significant part of our community for a long time," said Village President Arlene Mulder, noting that the restaurant building in downtown Arlington Heights is nearly as old as the village itself.