Redevelopment proposal would bring significant upgrades to prominent corner in downtown Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich officials unofficially have approved a proposal to buy, redevelop and enhance a prominent downtown corner property.

Negotiations are ongoing with Wauconda-based True North Properties Inc., to buy the village-owned parcel on the northeast corner of Main Street and Old Rand Road and make $1.5 million or more in improvements.

A real estate development agreement with True North would determine a purchase price and developer benchmarks. The property is in a special financing district and is eligible for incentives.

The directive followed a “courtesy review” Monday of a plan calling for significant exterior facade improvements, full interior renovation of the three existing business spaces and potentially adding a drive-through or pedestrian pickup window at My Flavor It! Place ice cream shop.

“I think it would be a welcomed revitalization of that corner,” said Trustee Greg Heider.

Lake Zurich acquired the property in 2006 as part of a master development plan at the time and since has been renting the spaces. Requests for proposals were sought last summer. This checks several boxes including revitalizing underutilized village-owned properties, and making the Main Street District more of a destination.

Rendering of a proposed renovation of a village-owned building at Old Rand Road and Main Street in downtown Lake Zurich. Courtesy of village of Lake Zurich

“The proposal from True North Properties was the one that best fit our community vision and future plans for Main Street,” explained Kyle Kordell, management services director. “We are confident we have found the right partner to make this important corner on Main Street pop architecturally.”

The work to be done includes significant facade renovations, adding architectural details, replacing mechanical systems and renovating the interiors of the units, he said.

Over 30 years, the company has specialized in converting distressed and underutilized properties into residential uses and most recently has revived properties in Crystal Lake, Huntley and Cary.

The conversion of a 110-year old former milk factory/condensing plant in Huntley to 38 apartments was completed last summer. Now, True North is working to convert a century old former senior living center on Main Street in Cary into four apartments and add two new apartment buildings.

Residential uses in downtown Lake Zurich are allowed only on second floors with the ground floor reserved for businesses and are not part of the proposed plan. Instead, True North plans upgrades to enhance the value and hold onto it as part of its portfolio. The company develops and manages all its properties.

“We look to build a long-term relationship, we're not someone who likes to buy and flip,” Nick Ieremciuc, whose father, George, founded the company, told the village board.

“I know this is a beloved corner in the community so we're hoping to bring some investment and really just make it a beautiful destination for the village of Lake Zurich,” he added.

  Plans are in the works to refurbish a building at Old Rand Road and Main Street in downtown Lake Zurich. Three businesses are housed in the building. Paul Valade/

The pending real estate development agreement will include a stipulation that rent on the three existing businesses could not increase more than 10% before June 2025 as a “window of adjustment” for tenants and any new lease negotiated with the new owners.

“We're apparently all in agreement that we're looking forward to what you're going to do there,” said Mayor Tom Poynton.

Poynton said it has taken awhile but the village is making “significant strides” in downtown redevelopment with “some other possibilities that are percolating.”

Last year, the village began a $5 million investment in the area by replacing water, storm and sanitary sewer mains. Electric overhead utilities will be relocated in the spring.

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