‘Enchanting fusion’ of apartments, retail pitched for Block A in downtown Lake Zurich

A second proposal for a mix of apartments above commercial spaces for the same vacant village-owned property in downtown Lake Zurich has surfaced.

“The Promenade Project on Block A” by Paul Proano Properties calls for a four-story building with 51 apartments above and five retail businesses of varying sizes on the ground floor.

It’s the second proposal in two weeks for the property across from the Lake Zurich promenade at 153 W. Main St. to receive an informal courtesy review from the village board. What is known as Block A is considered an important redevelopment area and potential destination for residents and visitors.

  A second proposal for a mix of apartments and retail uses has surfaced for a long vacant village-owned parcel in downtown Lake Zurich known as Block A. Paul Valade/

On June 3, the pitch from Miller Street Partners and restaurateur Fabio Viviani was for a mixed-use development of 56 apartments with two ground-floor restaurants.

Proano, a Lake Zurich resident and commercial real estate broker, who has worked with other businesses downtown, described his project as “an enchanting fusion of residential grandeur and dynamic retail offerings.”

The plan calls for 24 one-bedroom units up to 1,000 square feet and 27 two-bedroom, two-bath units up to 1,390 square feet. Monthly rents would range from $1,900 to $2,500, respectively. The apartments would be of a “condo-style,” each having separate utilities, Proano told the board.

Specific users weren’t identified, but a tutoring business, retail, artisan coffee shops, spas and restaurants were mentioned as possibilities.

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A rooftop deck with a view of Lake Zurich for building residents a ground level patio facing the lake were other proposed amenities. The project calls for 91 outdoor parking spaces and 70 indoor spaces.

Parking is the biggest concern, said Trustee Roger Sugrue. Trustee Mary Beth Euker agreed, saying 161 spaces isn’t enough.

Proano said he is considering acquiring a property next door on Main Street for additional parking, which has been the biggest question.

“With the relations that I have, I think that we’ll be able to overcome that and not only do a service for our customers and our clients but for the village,” he said.

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Trustee William Riley said he thought the other property should be part of the proposal.

“It’s hard for me to envision approving something like this with the hope that another property is going to be bought to take care of the parking,” he said.

Trustees said the area already is a focal point and whatever is built there should be a destination to be enjoyed by all.

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“I’d love to see a vibrant downtown,” Trustee Greg Weider said. “But as you think about bringing people in, I would just suggest that you don’t forget about the folks who already live here.”

Mayor Tom Poynton said the proposal as presented didn’t mesh with what residents want for Block A.

“They’re asking for what we have seen from Consume (gastropub) in the past and what we saw from Romeo Kapudija (founder of Miller Street Partners) and Fabio a couple of weeks ago, and this from my perspective isn’t even close to that,” he said. “It's a nice looking building but the exterior and ground level doesn't present much of an open space for viewing the lake and outside dining and activities, what we have heard for years the community is looking for.”

Proano said he’d be back with more information.

“We want that destination spot and we want our residents and our community to love this building (and) say, ‘Wow, that building is exactly what we wanted,’” he said. “And we’re willing to put that together.”

If they choose to move forward, the next step for both developers is to negotiate a redevelopment agreement with village staff to be presented to the village board for consideration, according to Michael Duebner, assistant village manager.

Only then would the developer start the permit application process, moving through the advisory planning and zoning commission for a public hearing before final consideration by the village board.

“We look forward to either or both developers moving forward to the next stage,” Duebner added.

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