Parking woes could doom planned Durty Nellie’s redevelopment

  Palatine Village Manager Reid Ottesen speaks Wednesday during the annual State of the Village event hosted by the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce at village hall. Steve Zalusky/

The clock is ticking on a proposed mixed-use development in downtown Palatine anchored by a re-imagined Durty Nellie’s pub, and time soon could run out because of unresolved parking issues.

“I think it's looking very unlikely that that project will go forward,” Village Manager Reid Ottesen said Wednesday during the annual State of the Village event hosted by the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ottesen said the project’s Tennessee-based developer, Jonathan Payne, has been unable to figure out how to meet village parking requirements for the proposal, which calls for the iconic nightspot at 180 N. Smith St. to be demolished and replaced with a six-story building.

“We have tried a couple times to reach out and see where it stands,” Ottesen said of the developer. “We’re not really getting anything.”

The Palatine village board granted preliminary approval in April to the proposed new building, which would feature 85 apartments on the top five floors and approximately 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The first floor would include a new 3,500-square-foot Durty Nellie’s, the Pan American Bank and Trust, now at 190 N. Smith St., and another commercial use.

Durty Nellie’s also would operate a smaller pub on the building’s rooftop.

However, that preliminary approval lasts one year. If the board doesn’t grant final approval before it expires, the process must start over from the beginning.

Payne, one of the developers behind The Arboretum in South Barrington and Deer Park Town Center, confirmed Wednesday that parking is the issue holding up the project.

Palatine code requires 170 off-street spaces for the apartments and 33 for the commercial tenants. As originally proposed, the development would have 30 surface parking spaces plus 68 spaces available at the nearby Gateway Center parking deck.

Village trustees said final approval would require a detailed parking plan spelling out the location, design, number of spaces and parking ratios based on the number of apartments and commercial uses.

In the meantime, Ottesen said he has had great conversations with Durty Nellie’s co-owner James Dolezal.

“I think they are really looking at what else they can do there if this project doesn’t move forward,” he said.

Dolezal acknowledged that the situation is “just kind of stagnant right now.”

“We just have to figure out where we can get parking. Once we solve that, things can move pretty quickly,” he added.

Although it is unlikely a solution will arise at the 11th hour, Dolezal remains optimistic that the site will see redevelopment.

“Something is going to happen here,” he said. “It may not be exactly what we envisioned initially. We’re eager to move forward and continue to work with the village and see where we can go from here.”

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