The face of Barrington's business district is continuing to change with trustees' approval Monday of the demolition of a long-vacant building on Main Street, as well as Tuesday's opening of a highly anticipated Ace Hardware on Northwest Highway.
The village's economic development plans -- particularly in the downtown -- are shaping up to be at the heart of the forthcoming village board election this April.
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Trustees Monday granted approval of Indeck Development Inc.'s request to demolish its two-story, 27,058-square-building at 222 E. Main St. that had previously been the home of Starck & Co. Realtors.
The building had been vacant for four years and the owners felt that demolition could help prospective buyers look at its prominent location in a new light, Barrington Village Manager Jeff Lawler said.
As this was a strategy that worked for the village itself a year ago in demolishing the existing buildings on the site it owns on the southwest corner of Main and Hough streets, it seemed to make sense, he added.
"We do think it does open the site up for future developers to see the possibilities," Lawler said of 222 E. Main St. "It did have some deterioration that would have been somewhat costly to repair."
Though the coming demolition will add to those the downtown has seen over the past year, Lawler doesn't strongly anticipate any more. The rest of the downtown's building stock appears to be viable as it is, he said.
The review process for the new retail and office buildings proposed by Arthur Hill and Co. and Envision Realty Advisors for the village-owned site at Hough and Main streets is expected to wrap up in a few weeks. With final approval and the commitment of a tenants, construction of the project could begin next year, Lawler said.
But opposition to that plan and the fact that $23 million has already been spent on it from the village's tax-increment finance district fund is at the heart of residents Jim Magnanenzi, Mike Kozel and JoAnn Fletcher's run for trustee next April.
They're expected to square off against the slate of Village President Karen Darch, Trustee Tim Roberts and fellow trustee candidates Pete Douglas and Sue Padula.