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updated: 4/8/2014 6:50 PM

Developer gets chance at downtown waterfront land in Lake Zurich

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  • Jeffrey Halen

    Jeffrey Halen


Another developer has received a deadline to show it has the ability to revitalize a section of downtown Lake Zurich.

Village trustees Monday night approved a memo of understanding with Plainfield-based Harbour Contractors Inc. Harbour is part of a team that tentatively plans to build apartments, with the intent of converting them into condominiums, overlooking the village's namesake lake.

Lake Zurich trustees voted 5-0 in favor of giving Harbour until July 1 to submit a development proposal for the roughly 2-acre site that cost taxpayers $3.6 million. The land is part of a long-stalled attempt to revive downtown.

Responding to concerns from Trustee Jeffrey Halen, Village Manager Jason Slowinski stressed the memo is not a formal redevelopment agreement. Slowinski said the village doesn't have to allow Harbour to proceed if officials don't like what is submitted before the deadline.

"Unfortunately, this village has been in other contracts where things have not been delivered," Halen said. "They started off in good faith."

Architect Michael Gilfillan, a team member and co-founder of StudioGC in Chicago, told the village board Monday night that a detailed plan will be presented "well before" the July 1 deadline. He said Lake Zurich's staff will be part of the process.

"This is a collaborative effort, from our point of view," Gilfillan said.

As part of the agreement, Harbour must certify and provide evidence it has sufficient financial resources to complete the project.

Last October, Lake Zurich's elected officials endorsed the village planner's recommendation to reject developer John Breugelmans' offer to pay $10 for the same $3.6 million lakefront property that interests Harbour.

Breugelmans received an exclusive 75-day window to show he could get the work done, similar to what was afforded to Harbour this week. He 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 Breugelmans was rejected by a 4-2 village board vote, he 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 attempt.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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