Developer wants 75-day exclusive window for downtown Lake Zurich
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Developer John Breugelmans hopes to receive an exclusive 75-day window to show he can improve a slice of downtown Lake Zurich.
Breugelmans said he wants to construct a four-story building on roughly 2 acres directly overlooking the village's namesake lake. He said his plan calls for a mixed-use structure with 60 rental apartments that eventually would be converted into condominiums, along with a restaurant, bar, coffee shop and ice-cream parlor.
Developer gets agreement, exclusive time to show he can revitalize downtown Lake Zurich
"I think we all agree the downtown situation is getting close to desperate," he said.
Last year, Breugelmans and three other developers made pitches for the same village-owned land that haven't been decided. At a recent village board meeting, he said he wants the 75-day exclusive opportunity to show he can build his project before the village requests qualifications from other developers potentially interested in the site.
Breugelmans received an informal thumbs-up from the village board, but an official vote is needed on what would be a letter of agreement for his proposal. Mayor Suzanne Branding said she was unsure when the vote would occur.
Downtown redevelopment has been a longtime issue in Lake Zurich. Following months of feasibility studies, the village board in March 2002 approved boundaries for a special taxing district to lure developers to the downtown, but nothing significant has occurred because of the weak economy and other factors. Breugelmans said the limited time frame would be enough for an updated marketing study, soil tests on the site and completion of a business plan. He would privately share his potential funding source with Lee Brown, president of Evanston-based Teska Associates Inc., a village consultant specializing in development and revitalization of towns.
"I don't think it's appropriate that I show my finance source publicly," Breugelmans said.
Trustee Terry Mastandrea questioned why Breugelmans appeared at the recent village board session and said the 75-day exclusivity would be unfair to other developers.
"We have to go through a fair process and the board is ready to do it," Mastandrea said.
Lake Zurich has what's called a tax increment financing district for downtown. That's where property tax revenue is frozen at a certain amount and any additional revenue goes into public improvements rather than to local governments such as school or park districts.
In October, Breugelmans presented concept plans for a 130-room hotel at Route 22 and Old Rand Road in the downtown redevelopment zone. However, in an interview, he said his project for the roughly 2 acres near the lake must be done first.
"If you don't get downtown going," he said, "nobody is going to be interested in financing a hotel at that location."
Breugelmans received Algonquin village board approval last year to build rental apartments at Riverside Plaza instead of condos as proposed by an original developer that defaulted on loans.
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