Apartments coming to downtown Libertyville

Village officials can't remember when rental units were last built in Libertyville, but two projects underway will add dozens of new apartments to the mix downtown.

Proximity to a commuter rail line, abundance of activity downtown and changing lifestyles are thought to be behind the projects on Milwaukee Avenue. One is a 12-unit building to replace an old 3-unit building south of Winchester Road, and the other is the long-sought build-out of the upper floors of the prominent Manchester Square development at Lake Street.

"The downtown is very lively and very fun, and the proximity of the train is a huge plus," said Mark Heffron, a partner in Cedar Street Companies, a Chicago-based firm that recently began construction of 34 apartments on the upper two floors of Manchester Square. The building at the southwest corner of Lake Street was completed about 10 years ago and has become the well-known location for four ground-level restaurants.

Cedar Street Companies, among the busiest apartment developers in Chicago, has been planning the project in Libertyville since it bought Manchester Square out of receivership in late 2013 for $7.15 million.

"The demand for quality apartments in the suburbs is increasing," Heffron said. "We think people in all sorts of demographics are renting rather than buying."

Offerings will include a mix of studio and one- to three-bedroom apartments, ranging from 700 square feet to 2,000 square feet. Monthly rents are expected from $1,400 to $3,300.

A short distance away, at 911 N. Milwaukee Ave., construction of a 12-unit apartment building to replace an old 3-unit building is underway. Fides Capital Partners, a Lake Forest-based investment group bought an adjoining 12-unit building in 2014 and last summer added the 3-unit to its portfolio.

"Libertyville, in our opinion, is underserved in terms of high-end rental properties, so it made a lot of sense," said Gregg Handrich, a village resident and part of the ownership group.

Handrich said rentals in Libertyville are in short supply. Interest has increased because millennials, aged 20 to 35, have a propensity to rent and are waiting longer to buy. Demand also is coming from empty nesters.

"We're seeing demand from each side of the age curve, if you will," he said.

The units will be two-bedrooms, two baths with parking beneath the building. Rental rates are being evaluated, according to Handrich.

Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator, said there is local demand for rentals and she expected both projects to be attractive because they are in walking distance to the Metra station and a variety of restaurants, stores and activities.

The village also is working with a consultant to create a transit-oriented development plan for a quarter-mile radius of the station. Recommendations are expected to include potential location for redevelopment, which could include a change in some existing uses.


  The floors above Casa Bonita and other restaurants in the Manchester Square building in downtown Libertyville are being built out with 34 apartments. Paul Valade/
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