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Article updated: 12/4/2012 11:04 PM

Barrington planners review design of downtown project

By Eric Peterson

Barrington plan commissioners will continue their review of a proposed retail-office redevelopment at the heart of the village's downtown next Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Commissioners held their first hearing on the project at the southwest corner of Hough and Main streets Tuesday night but continued it due to the amount of public comment.

The appearance review commission will hold a hearing specifically on the architecture Thursday night.

If the village board has recommendations from both panels, it may consider final approval Dec. 17.

The proposal calls for an L-shaped building with an 18,000-square-foot ground floor right at the corner of Hough and Main streets -- and a one-story, 6,000-square-foot building west of it.

The buildings would be separated from the streets by a wide stretch of sidewalk, with a village-owned parking lot for 131 vehicles just behind them.

Nevertheless, the architecture of the buildings has been designed to have a front facade on all sides,

The larger building was presented with both two-story and three-story options. The upper floors are being reserved for office space.

Bruce Reid, vice president of the Evanston-based limited liability company that's partnered with the village on the proposal, said the number of office tenants that commit to the project will determine which option is pursued when the building permit is applied for.

What makes the project attractive and competitive in the office space market is the large amount of its contiguous space, Reid said.

"We clearly think what we're proposing will meet a demand on an economic basis," he added.

The viability of the project has been criticized by a slate of opposition candidates seeking election to the village board next spring.

Other criticisms voiced by members of the public Tuesday included the potential impact on traffic and the amount of existing office vacancies downtown.

The developers requested several exceptions to the village code, including a height of 65 feet instead of 52 feet on the three-story option, as well as the permission for taverns at street level and medical office space upstairs.

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