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updated: 2/22/2014 2:36 PM

Development team eyes apartments for dowtown Lake Zurich

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  • Jonathan Sprawka

      Jonathan Sprawka

 
 

An apartment building has been floated as a possible project in a section of downtown Lake Zurich by a new development team that met village officials this week.

In play is a roughly 2-acre site overlooking the village's namesake lake that cost taxpayers $3.6 million and is part of a long-stalled downtown redevelopment plan. Plainfield-based Harbour Contractors Inc. and Fred Barofsky Co. of Oak Brook are leading the team that recently responded to a village request for qualifications from developers interested in the land.

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Planning consultant Michael Hackett told the Lake Zurich village board this week apartments initially would be envisioned for the downtown lakefront property. He said the idea would be to convert the rental units to condominiums.

Architect Michael Gilfillan, a team member and co-founder of StudioGC in Chicago, said he's excited about the possibilities for the site. A formal development proposal has yet to be crafted.

"We see the project as supporting people arriving or going places on bicycles, people enjoying the outdoors for fresh air and light," Gilfillan said. "It's a beautiful site, and we think there's a great opportunity there to provide a significant building on this very important parcel."

Barofsky and Harbour have been collaborating on projects in downtown Romeoville, including a sports and convention center.

Evanston-based Teska Associates Inc., which specializes in development and revitalization of towns, is assisting Lake Zurich in its attempt to boost the downtown. Teska President Lee Brown told village officials that good references were received for Barofsky, Harbour and others on the development squad.

Lake Zurich officials agreed that a memo of understanding should be entered into with the parties, so the development plan may be formalized and presented to the village board.

Trustee Jonathan Sprawka said he'd like to see the process move quickly.

"We've been down this road before in one way, shape or form," Sprawka said.

Last October, Lake Zurich's elected officials endorsed the village planner's recommendation to reject a developer's offer to pay $10 for the $3.6 million lakefront property.

Developer John Breugelmans had wanted to erect a four-story building with 66 rental apartments eventually converted to condominiums, along with a restaurant, bar, coffee shop and hair salon. After his proposal was panned by a 4-2 village board vote, Breugelmans called Lake Zurich's staff "a disaster" and directed foul language at the officials.

Lake Zurich has had a special taxing zone designed to attract downtown redevelopment since 2002. The village has about $28 million in outstanding debt associated with the effort.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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