Most Rolling Meadows aldermen expressed initial support Tuesday for plans to build 120 townhouses on most of the former 11-acre Dominick's property downtown.
In a straw poll taken during a committee of the whole meeting, aldermen favored the project 4-1. Towns at Meadow Square would be a mix of two- and three-story rowhomes south of Kirchoff Road and east of Meadow Drive.
Ryan Homes has a contract for the rear portion of the property. Owner Clark Street Development would retain a 1.4-acre front portion along Kirchoff for potential commercial use. A portion in between would be reserved for stormwater retention.
All houses would have three bedrooms and would start at $300,000. Some would have built-in garages in the front and some in the back. The houses would not be available for rent, only for sale, according to the developer.
It's the latest redevelopment proposal for the site, which has struggled to generate economic activity since the closure of Dominick's in 2004 and adjoining small shops soon after. Various proposals to develop the site since that time -- from other townhouses and apartments to a senior housing community -- have fallen through or been rejected.
The vacant 130,000-square-foot Dominick's building was demolished last January in hopes of spurring redevelopment offers.
"For more than five years I've heard, 'What is the city doing about this?'" said Alderman John D'Astice of Ward 6. "A couple projects have come and gone and all I heard was, 'We need more commercial.' I'm looking at this and I'm seeing a really good plan. There is commercial still available."
But Alderman Joe Gallo, whose Ward 4 includes the property, said most of the property should be kept for commercial use as originally intended, as it would lead to a higher tax base. He questioned the wisdom of building more homes in an area that already has a surplus and how the city would be able to pay for police, fire and other services for additional residents.
"Once you build housing there, it can never be changed back to a commercial use," Gallo said.
Gallo was the lone "no" vote, while D'Astice, Mike Cannon, Robert Banger Jr. and Tim Veenbaas were in favor. Laura Majikes was undecided.
The plan could be brought to the city's planning and zoning commission as soon as November, with approval ultimately up to the city council. If approved, construction could begin in 2018 and it would be a multiyear project.