After years of public discussions and planning, construction of a new village hall in Mundelein is under way.
The two-story, 32,000-square-foot building eventually will stand on the 200 block of East Hawley Street, just northwest of the town's Metra commuter station.
The project is at the core of Mundelein's redevelopment plans for the area. Shops, multiunit housing and green space for the public have been proposed, too.
"It's really exciting," Mayor Kenneth H. Kessler said Friday following a groundbreaking ceremony. "It's the most important project that we've seen for years in town."
The $10.2 million project should be completed in summer 2014, Village Administrator John Lobaito said. The building was designed by Wight Architects, a Darien firm.
Although construction work began this week, crews have been busy on the site since 2011 with the start of demolition of a building that had been there. That work concluded last year.
A Vernon Hills firm called Weston Solutions has overseen the project. As part of the town's deal with Weston, the company will move into offices on the second floor of the building when the structure is complete.
Rent payments from Weston will help pay back construction costs. Village savings will be used to pay for the building, too, Lobaito said.
A local property-tax increase will not be necessary.
Officials have complained for years that the current village hall at 440 E. Hawley St. is too small and isn't properly accessible for people with disabilities.
But the need for a new municipal building is secondary to the desire to jump-start development in the heart of Mundelein, Kessler said.
The mayor, whose second and final term ends next month, sees the village hall project as a catalyst that already has attracted developer interest in the area.
"It's a very bright future, for not only the downtown area but the entire village," Kessler said.
The current village hall is a converted fire station that dates back to the late 1920s. The fate of the Alpine-style building hasn't been determined.