Mundelein's public works department could consolidate
Mundelein officials say they plan to consolidate all of the village's public works facilities at a single location in a move that could free up land for downtown development.
The 17-acre site is on the south side of Allanson Road, west of Tower Road. It's vacant land adjacent to the headquarters of Natus Medical Inc., a health care supply company.
The site was chosen because of its relatively central location in the village, officials said. Construction could take between five and 10 years, officials said.
Meanwhile, officials will commission a space analysis to develop a plan that makes efficient use of the site, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.
Trustees on Monday voted to buy the land from a real-estate developer for $527,500. The cash will come from village savings.
The public works department operates three sites:
• A main office at 440 E. Crystal St. that also houses the street division, vehicle maintenance and engineering.
• A facility maintenance center at 169 N. Seymour Ave.
• The water division headquarters at 428 N. Chicago Ave.
All three buildings are in the downtown area village officials have been working to invigorate for years.
Moving the offices to Allanson Road frees up six acres for more traditional downtown uses, officials said.
"We are continually looking at ways to improve our downtown by attracting more retail, dining and residential opportunities," Lobaito said in a news release.
The purchase and planned relocation reflects the village board's commitment to downtown redevelopment, he said.
In a follow-up interview with the Daily Herald, Lobaito said the three sites will be made available for private redevelopment.
"The village would like to have these properties back in the hands of the private sector to increase our property tax base," he said.
One of the buildings has roots to Mundelein's early days. The maintenance building on Seymour Avenue served as the village's main fire station from 1947 to 2000, until a new fire headquarters opened on Midlothian Road.
Lobaito doesn't expect the village will demolish the buildings, but that's not to say a future buyer won't bring in a wrecking ball.
"I would expect we would sell them as is, unless we decide that there is some other public use for the property," he said.
Trustee Terri Voss was the only board member who voted against the purchase.
In a telephone interview, she said she likes the idea of consolidating the public works department's office. However, Voss believes officials acted prematurely by buying land before knowing how much space they actually need.
"This is a speculative land purchase on the village's part," Voss said.
Works: Three vacant sites would be available for private development