Buffalo Grove trustees want changes in developer's proposal
After a quarter-century of waiting, it looks like a 24-acre piece of land at Deerfield Parkway and Milwaukee Avenue in Buffalo Grove finally may be developed, although maybe not to the standard sought by village board members.
The latest proposal for the land, seen as a community gateway, was referred Monday -- with many suggestions -- to the planning and zoning commission for review.
The contract purchaser, Shorewood Development Group, plans a mixed-use development with 40,000 square feet of retail in three buildings, a Texas Roadhouse restaurant, a bank, Gardner Daycare and a 28,000-square-foot specialty grocery store.
The property was annexed to the village in 1990, and Shorewood Development Group has had it under contract with the seller, Parkway Bank, since early in 2014.
Shorewood Development Group's founding partner and CEO, Louis Schriber III, said his group understands the importance of the site. Shorewood Development Group is working to address its challenges, including wetlands, stormwater flooding and traffic, he said.
Proposed tenants include Five Guys, Starbucks, Noodles & Company, Potbelly's, Café Zupas and Panera Bread. Overall, the developer indicated there will be up to 10 restaurants along with other retail users, with projected sales revenue of approximately $12 million to $15 million, excluding any potential grocery user.
Much of the concern among board members related to the retail mix.
Trustee Joanne Johnson pointed out that this is one of the last remaining large plots of land in Buffalo Grove.
"I think that we all need to approach this proposal with the utmost care and attention to detail," she said. "I see a Panera. Well, there is a Panera right across the street. There is a Noodles just north in Lincolnshire. There is a Starbucks everywhere."
Trustee Steven Trilling called the area the "gateway to our village" and said it should be treated as such.
"We want something that is a true destination for people to come to. (But) a lot of the things that are on this particular plan are really oriented toward what I want to call a lunch crowd," Trilling said. "I invite you and I challenge you to think of things that will make this a destination."
On the other hand, Trustee Andrew Stein said of Texas Roadhouse, "It is a destination. I don't think I've been in any one that isn't packed." Stein suggested attracting other types of destination restaurants, such as Ruth's Chris Steak House.
The residential component would involve a partnership with The Hanover Co., a national multifamily developer, with the goal of building 275 units in three four-story buildings on seven to eight acres.
David Ott Jr., development partner in The Hanover Co., told the board the product would be "very urban in nature and look," including a courtyard and swimming pool, with "tuck under" single-car garages. Monthly rent would be in the area of $1,900, with the tenants making an average income of $75,000-$90,000. The tenants would include single young professionals or empty nesters.
Johnson and other trustees expressed concern about the need for amenities that would attract young professionals, such as green space and bike and pedestrian paths. "There's nothing extraordinarily unique about the plan," Johnson said.
She suggested condos and town homes should be included in the mix. "That's a large income to still be a renter," she said.
Stein suggested that the buildings should perhaps go higher than four stories.
Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III said, "It's a bunch of strip malls in parking lots. I don't see anything unique about it."
Village President Beverly Sussman wondered if the board's suggestions could be incorporated into a new plan before the proposal gets to the planning and zoning commission. The developer's attorney, Lawrence Freedman, assured Sussman that the developer would consider the comments and implement what changes it can.