Barrington trustees Monday allowed the developer of the stalled retail redevelopment at the southwest corner of Hough and Main streets downtown the option of dispensing with a second story for office space to get construction started this year.
Representatives of the development partnership anticipate breaking ground near Labor Day for a construction project that would last about six months before stores could start moving in.
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Monday's approval doesn't prevent the project from still incorporating one or two upper stories of office space if a tenant is found during the summer, said Bruce Reid, president and chief operating officer of development partner Arthur Hill & Co.
Every version of the project calls for an L-shaped building with an 18,000-square-foot footprint at the corner with a one-story, 6,000-square-foot building just west of it.
Even if the main building is also one story, it could include a rooftop deck for a restaurant, Reid said.
Former village board candidates Mike Kozel and Jim Magnanenzi Monday criticized what they saw as officials' compromising downtown redevelopment with taxpayers' money.
The land was formerly separate lots bought and assembled by the village.
"I believe this is a bad plan for the people of Barrington," Kozel said. "This project really does nothing to increase the overall business coming to Barrington."
Maganenzi insisted his real-estate background tells him requiring upper floors of condominiums is the right thing for the downtown economy.
"The community has not been listened to throughout this whole process," he said.
But fellow resident Curt Moore said the project provides hope for the downtown.
"I believe this is the best plan to move forward today," Moore said.
Reid said a residential component would require six or seven stories to make it financially feasible -- something that seems to exceed general public favor in Barrington. Three stories is the current height limit downtown.
Village President Karen Darch said much of the site will be used for public parking.
"We've worked hard on this project the last many years, and we've followed the market," Darch said.