Former Libertyville park site being cleared for townhouses
Demolition of the former Libertyville parks headquarters and associated structures along Winchester Road continued Friday in preparation for what is considered a significant new neighborhood.
"The project is moving along very well and we are wrapping up the final details of the architectural plans this week," said Rick Swanson, a Lake Forest architect and developer who has teamed with K. Hovnanian Homes on Parkside of Libertyville. The project is planned for 56 townhouses at 625 Winchester Road, just north of downtown.
Swanson on Friday said the intent is to apply next week for building permits to begin construction of what is expected to be a two- to three-year project.
"It's conceivable in the next 45 days, we could begin moving dirt out there to begin construction," he said.
Parkside already has attracted interest in a community that, except for tear downs, has seen little new residential construction because of a lack of available land. The village also recently received an application from the Roanoke Group LLC of Lake Bluff for a neighborhood of 157 homes proposed for 40 open acres owned by the Catholic Bishop of Chicago west of Butterfield Road.
"We understand from developers that there's pent-up demand for new product in the Libertyville market, and that projects that come on line, such as that by K. Hovnanian, are creating waiting lists," said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator.
The 5.3-acre Bolander site had been known as Bolander Park, named for the former construction company that used the brick ranch-style building as its headquarters. The village bought the property in 1998 and, until last summer, used the building as the parks administrative office. Some programs were offered and an all-season hockey rink also was located there.
But village officials determined the park and facilities were expendable and decided to sell the property. After a false start with a different developer, the village in November 2013 accepted Swanson's $2.05 million offer.
Site remediation and other factors led to several delays, but the sale closed early this year.
"There has been a tremendous amount of interest in this project and we expect that to increase as activity on the site progresses," Swanson said.
Buyers are likely to be a mix of those looking to downsize, as well as younger buyers who want to stay in the community.
Minus fees and other expenses, the sale netted the village about $1.74 million, which is designated for the park improvement fund. A portion was used for construction of offices and other work at the Libertyville Sports Complex, where the parks staff has been consolidated.
Bolander wasn't the only village parks property on the market, but there have been no takers for the driving range and miniature golf course at the sports complex on Peterson Road and Route 45.