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Article updated: 2/6/2014 5:27 PM

Early work begins on Algonquin's Riverside Plaza

Preliminary work has begun at Riverside Plaza in Algonquin after several years of delays. Front Street is lined with construction barrels and will eventually be shut down once the heavy work begins, Community Development Director Russ Farnum said. The project is expected to be completed in the summer.

Preliminary work has begun at Riverside Plaza in Algonquin after several years of delays. Front Street is lined with construction barrels and will eventually be shut down once the heavy work begins, Community Development Director Russ Farnum said. The project is expected to be completed in the summer.

 

John Starks | Staff Photographer

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After almost five years of false starts and financing issues, interior work will soon begin on Riverside Plaza, a project leaders say will bring new life and activity to Algonquin's downtown when it's completed this summer.

The village awarded structural permits to developer John Breugelmans last week and preliminary work is ongoing, Community Development Director Russ Farnum said.

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This comes nearly four months after Breugelmans secured $11 million in financing for the project at the corner of Routes 31 and 62.

The existing building, in the heart of downtown, will include 63 luxury apartments along with 9,600 square feet of ground-level retail shops and on-site parking.

It remained unfinished since 2009 and became an eyesore after the original developer defaulted on his loans and terminated its construction.

"It's been a long, long haul," Village President John Schmitt said Thursday. "The economy falling apart certainly put a damper on being able to get projects done, but we stuck with it and we're going to very shortly begin reaping the rewards."

Breugelmans bought the building in spring 2011 and completed its exterior in 2012. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Officials say the building will become a key component in downtown Algonquin's rebirth, as it will increase the number of people living, eating and shopping there.

The new residents are expected to attract new retail and restaurant options; the development itself will add more than $10 million of property value to downtown Algonquin, officials said.

Riverside Plaza currently houses 54 units. The construction work primarily involves removing the existing walls and adding new ones to make 63 units, Farnum said.

Breugelmans is expected to secure the necessary mechanical, plumbing and electrical permits from the village this week so he can get started on that work as well, Farnum said. An on-site leasing office is expected to open in April.

"It's always a good thing to see a project moving forward," Farnum said.

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