West Dundee is embarking on what one official dubbed a "needed injection of development" in the downtown that could bring two restaurants, an event venue, a store that sells packaged goods from one of the eateries, and more to the southeast corner of Main and First streets.
"It's a huge positive in terms of a reuse that we think is extremely complimentary to the strong foundation that currently exists with Francesca's and the (Village) Squire and Emmett's," Village Manager Joe Cavallaro said.
The village board recently approved the concept plan for the area, known as the Samata Properties. Officials still need to work out a redevelopment agreement with the developers. The village board would vote on that at a later date and officials invite the public to participate.
The Samata Properties have been on the market since 2010 and include offices at 89-93 Main St., a vacant retail space at 99 Main St. and the empty former bowling alley/office building at 101 Main St. Other properties within the footprint are the village's old pump house and public works building.
Luxor Development, which could not be reached for comment, has proposed the following for the buildings it intends to renovate:
• A 35-seat, barbecue restaurant that's alcohol free at 99 Main St.
• A general store on the main floor of 89-93 Main St. that would sell pies, packaged items from the barbecue restaurant and serve as a retail distribution point for the Cheesecake Factory Bakery. The upper level would be reserved for office space for one of the developers.
• A pancake house in the front of 101 First St. and creating a small event space elsewhere in the building for weddings, craft shows and corporate meetings.
• A seasonal, family friendly food business at the pump house. Serving ice cream and possibly cooking food on a grill between the building and the river has been suggested. The developer would lease this building.
• A storage facility for furniture, fixtures and the developer's other business equipment inside the old public works building. The developer would lease this building as well.
Once completed, the new ventures would create synergy in the downtown, Village President Chris Nelson said. For example, a visitor could shop at a nearby art store, grab ice cream at the pump house and eat it on the riverwalk.
"Having that corner, which is the eastern gateway, is going to be very helpful," Nelson said.