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Article updated: 12/18/2012 11:40 AM

Roselle alters New Leaf plans to include commercial option

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In response to the weak demand for housing and office space, Roselle officials on Monday approved a measure that alters the second phase of plans for the New Leaf Development on Irving Park Road.

Crews broke ground on the $14 million project at Roselle and Irving Park roads in early 2010 after demolishing vacant businesses and creating a new vista to expose Main Street and Lynfred Winery.

More than a year later, Itasca Bank & Trust opened on the western portion of the 41,000-square-foot area, 133 parking spots were created and several attorney's offices opened on the second floor.

The second phase of New Leaf was set to include construction of underground parking and 18,550 square feet of commercial and home office lofts.

But under the new measure adopted Monday, the developer now has the option to welcome a major commercial development, Community Development Director Patrick Watkins said.

"Because the market is not hot enough for mixed office and retail use, we are trying to add some flexibility in case, say, a 6,000-square-foot, free-standing restaurant would want to come," Watkins said.

There is no set timetable for the second phase to begin because Roselle-based Janke Construction Co., which is building New Leaf, has put it on hold due to the sluggish economy.

The changes made Monday do not alter the costs of the project. Instead, Watkins said, it "puts the framework in place" for the project to move forward if a business shows interest before the housing market recovers.

When New Leaf is complete, village officials estimate it will generate about 10 times more property tax revenue than the current site, jumping from $22,000 to $225,500.

The project will fill the last major parcel in Roselle's tax increment financing district, which was created 20 years ago near the town center to spur development.

The TIF runs out at the end of this year, and Roselle officials earlier this month approved the final residential project: a $2.1 million, 10-unit apartment development at the southwest corner of Prospect Street and Hattendorf Avenue built by another of Janke's companies.

In addition, the TIF district includes other mixed residential and retail developments such as Village Crossings and Thorngate, both built by Janke's company, along with Main Street Station, Old Main Street and Park Street.

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