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Article updated: 1/21/2013 9:31 PM

Fox Lake receives notice developer wants to build restaurant, banquet hall

By Lee Filas

Fox Lake officials say they have received notice from developers that they are ready to move forward with some of their construction plans on undeveloped land near the village's Lakefront Park.

Mayor Ed Bender said he will inform trustees at tonight's meeting that developers have filed a letter of intent to build a restaurant and banquet hall on 1.5 acres of vacant village-owned land on Nippersink Drive, on the shores of Nippersink Lake.

He added those same developers have also proposed to build a 90-room hotel on the property, but that the letter for the hotel had not been filed as of late Monday night.

He added that second proposal is expected to be in place by the end of the week.

The site could also feature an indoor pool, a beach and a boardwalk, Bender said.

For the project, the village would most likely lease the property to developers. The iconic Illinois Hotel once stood on the site.

"We are getting closer," Bender said. "In the letter, it states developers would like to start building in April of 2013, then open the restaurant and banquet hall in May of 2014."

The village board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the village hall, 66 Thillen Drive.

Bender said more details about the proposed site would be released in the coming months. The entire project will still need approval from the planning, zoning and village boards before construction can start.

Fox Lake has been trying to bring a hotel to the village for more than a decade.

The first hotel proposal was for a site on Route 134 nearly 15 years ago, but developers were unable to secure financing for the project.

About six years ago, developers cleared land for a proposed hotel on Route 12 downtown. However, work stopped after the developer was sued for not using investor money as intended.

Bender said that proposal is tied up in federal court, while the site remains a blighted property in the center of town.

Bender said hotel developers have always shown interest in Fox Lake because of its proximity to the Chain O' Lakes.

He said this latest proposal could be the best chance to make a hotel a reality.

"This latest letter is being introduced to give the trustees something to be aware of," Bender said. "It's moving ahead, and we are very excited about it."

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