Apartment complex proposal nearing approval in Lincolnshire
A plan to raze part of Lincolnshire's Regal Cinemas movie house and build a 302-unit apartment complex is nearing approval at village hall.
Despite a historical reluctance to allow apartment buildings in town and some lingering concerns about the proposed complex's size and other elements, trustees have scheduled a vote for May 9.
Mayor Elizabeth Brandt initially was cool to the plan when it was proposed in January but now is a supporter.
"The more I weighed the different issues, the pros outweigh the cons," Brandt said.
The Regal is a key attraction at the City Park shopping center, which is on the southwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Aptakisic Road. But ticket sales have been declining at the 18-year-old theater, and company officials are weighing shuttering the site if profits don't improve.
Developer Scott Greenberg of the ECD Company - the firm that developed City Park and owns the Regal building - said he has the solution.
Greenberg wants to knock down half the Regal structure and put up a two-building, luxury apartment complex he's calling 404 Social. The buildings also would occupy land that's now a parking lot for Regal.
His plan would reduce the number of Regal's screens from 21 to 15. Regal would spend up to $5 million to upgrade the remaining theaters. If the plan goes through, those upgrades could begin this summer, officials said.
Apartment buildings are rare in Lincolnshire. Village officials have approved plans for houses, condominiums and townhouses, but not apartments.
But times have changed, Brandt said. Homeownership no longer is a goal for many adults.
"People don't want to tie up their money," she said. "People don't necessarily want to commit to owning a condominium or a townhome."
Brandt believes the 404 Social complex could attract younger professionals who work at local corporations, people who may want to walk or bike to their offices when the weather permits.
Amenities proposed for the complex - including a swimming pool, grilling facilities and a kayak launch - also should be enticing, she said.
Keeping the Regal open is important, too, Brandt said.
"Are we willing to risk the loss of Regal Cinemas and have a large empty building and a sea of concrete, or are we willing to evolve with the times?" she said.
Trustee Tom McDonough opposes the plan. He doesn't like the idea of a large apartment complex in town.
"I am not in favor of creating the dense apartment development when we have plenty of multifamily housing in the area with plenty of available units for rent," McDonough said. "Lincolnshire has always avoided large apartment zoning and I feel we should continue to avoid it."
McDonough also doesn't want to the village to lose potential sales tax revenue if the land becomes residential.
"The property is currently a sales tax producing property, which will not continue," he said.
The plan has cleared the village's architectural review board with some changes.
The May 9 village board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at village hall, 1 Olde Half Day Road.