A new plan to build homes on the former Quig's Orchard on Route 83 in Mundelein has surfaced and village officials are hopeful the property will emerge from dormancy eight years after the business closed.
K. Hovnanian Homes, formerly Town & Country homes, recently purchased the 20-acre orchard north of Midlothian Road and is considering building 71 single-family homes.
The company this past week presented a concept to the village board that envisions a more traditional subdivision layout than the cul-de-sac focused, cluster home idea that was approved by the village in 2006. That plan withered as the economy did.
"I think the (village) board is very receptive to the idea," said Mayor Steve Lentz. "I think it was just a matter of time because it's a great location."
What will become of the shuttered country store and restaurant on 2½ acres fronting Route 83 is to be determined. The building, which is owned separately from the former orchard, remains as a bittersweet reminder of the family business that operated for 58 years.
"I think we'll see some activity on it this fall," said Jeff Ohm, managing partner of Orchard Development Group II LLC. "The question has been what would happen in the rear."
The lack of activity on both the orchard and the building has been a disappointment for the family, according to Robert Quig, the son of the late founder Bob Quig.
"I'd like to see somebody do something with the store," he said.
"I drive by it once in awhile. I still get people asking me, `What's going on over there?' " he said.
The plans are preliminary but K. Hovnanian wants to provide a more typical lot configuration than the original plan to appeal to move-up buyers.
"We thought we could take the same concept (as originally proposed) and improve on the land plan a little bit," said Brian Murphy, vice president of operations for Hovnanian.
The homes would range from 2,200 to 3,400 square feet and be similar in architectural style to those being sold at Silverwood Glen in Winfield and Arbor Trails in Lisle, according to information provided to the village.
Village officials are concerned with cut-through traffic, according to Victor Barrera, the director of planning and development. Improving traffic flow and safety will be a priority as the plans progress, he added.
The company is well known in town, having done projects before the housing bubble and most recently acquiring and completing the stalled Tall Grass Ridge subdivision just east of the former orchard property.
"The village of Mundelein has a good relationship with Town & Country," Barrera said.
Murphy agreed there is a lot of legwork ahead and groundbreaking isn't expected for about a year, pending approvals.
Lake County, like other suburban areas, is seeing a dramatic increase in homebuyer interest, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS. Figures for June, the latest available, show single-family home sales in Lake County increased nearly 14 percent compared to June 2012 and the median sales price was up 4.2 percent.
Regarding the commercial portion of the property, Ohm said the 10,000-square-foot building is in good shape but needs updating. He said there are four interested parties, two of which would consider reusing the existing structure and two who would tear it down for a new development.
"There's still a lot of interest in that building. It brings back memories," of a different time, he said.