More than a decade after Lisle demolished its old village hall, officials are hoping to sell the downtown property to a company that would construct a mix of apartments and retail space.
Village board members this week approved a "letter of intent" with Naperville-based Marquette Companies for the sale and development of the former village hall site at Main Street and Burlington Avenue. The village-owned property has been vacant since the previous municipal building was razed in 2003.
Lisle Mayor Joe Broda said the proposed development could help rejuvenate downtown.
"I want to see people downtown and I want to see businesses come to the downtown area," Broda said.
Village officials say the letter of intent isn't a binding agreement. Instead, it sets the parameters in which Marquette and Lisle will work to complete a formal redevelopment agreement.
Marquette, which is developing the Water Street District in downtown Naperville, became interested in the Lisle site because it's a downtown location near the train station.
"It (Lisle) has a charming downtown," said Jeff Prosapio, Marquette's director of development. "We think the development of this site will add to it, enhance it and help it grow to its natural vibrancy."
Marquette's plan for the site and an adjacent parking lot calls for construction of two multistory buildings with retail on the first floor and apartments on the upper levels.
Village officials said the buildings would have a total of about 200 "high-quality" apartment units. More than 10,000 square feet of retail space would be at street level along both Main and Burlington. A public plaza is planned for the corner of Main and Burlington.
"It will create a sense of entry into the downtown," Prosapio said of the plaza, which would include an outdoor dining space for a future restaurant on the corner.
The buildings would have three floors along Main and "step up" to five floors along the east side of the property. A parking area would occupy part of the first floor and lower level of the buildings.
If all goes well, the village hopes for construction to start in the middle of next year.
While Broda is impressed with Marquette's proposal, he said there's work that needs to be done first.
A village board workshop is planned for Monday to meet with the developer to discuss project design. The proposal then will be reviewed by the village's planning and zoning commission.
One issue village trustees are expected to talk about Monday is whether they want 200 new apartment units downtown.
"We've been hearing from the businesses downtown and the experts that you need more density in the downtown area," Broda said. "We don't have much density in the downtown area. We need something to get the ball moving."
At one point, a builder was planning to put a mixed-use project with condominiums, townhouses and retail space on the former village hall site.
But village officials terminated the contract in January 2011 after the builder left the location virtually untouched for more than two years.
According to Broda, a surplus of condominiums and townhouses in the marketplace made the previous plans impractical.
U.S. Equities Realty was hired by Lisle about two years ago to market the property, Broda said.
That resulted in three companies, including Marquette, submitting proposals that village board members spent months evaluating.
Broda said the board decided to work with Marquette Companies because of its positive reputation.
"Marquette Companies is well-known in the area," said Broda, adding the company owns two apartment complexes in Lisle, Green Trails Apartments and The Towers at Four Lakes. "They have a good track record with their developments," Broda said. "They own them, and they manage them. It's not like they build it and run away."