Libertyville officials consider land swap for downtown housing plan

  • A preliminary plan for the area near Libertyville's downtown train station includes luxury apartments and townhouses featuring a clock tower and roundabout.

    A preliminary plan for the area near Libertyville's downtown train station includes luxury apartments and townhouses featuring a clock tower and roundabout. Courtesy of R.M. Swanson Architects

 
 
Updated 7/26/2016 5:44 AM

Libertyville officials are being asked to include a 1.4-acre village-owned parcel in an application to develop a long-vacant former industrial site downtown.

Consent would allow Swanson Development LLC to include that property in a pending application for apartments, duplexes and single-family homes on what is known as the Trimm property, near the Metra commuter station north and west of Lake Street and Milwaukee Avenue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Swanson needs to acquire the village's parcel to develop the Station Square project. In turn, the village would acquire 1.2 acres on the Trimm site to be used for commuter parking. The agreement will be considered at 8 p.m. tonight at the village board meeting.

The land swap is similar to what was approved three years ago regarding a proposal by M/I Homes for 80 townhouses on the site. As others in the past, the plan didn't proceed. Development of the 7-acre Trimm parcel has remained on the village board's annual goal list for several years.

Company owner Rick Swanson, who also is a partner in an ongoing residential project at the former Bolander Park not far from the Trimm site, has a contract to acquire the property. The village board in May informally supported the concept for Station Square, which would include a clock tower and roundabout as key features.

Swanson also was hired by the village to redesign the Metra station, which is adjacent to the Trimm property. The station upgrade is not part of the Station Square project.

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Once the Trimm property land agreement is approved, Swanson said he can proceed with his application for review with an expected public hearing before the village's plan commission in late September.

The area is the former home of Newton Instrument Co., which moved more than a decade ago. The building was demolished, but soil contamination has been an issue. Swanson said he will do whatever is needed to clean up the property, saying it will be worth the cost because of the popularity of the area.

"It's one of the main items to be addressed during the public hearing along with traffic, density and design," said John Spoden, the village's community development director. "He certainly understands the market for the area."

If approved, the village and Swanson will enter into a separate agreement for the land swap after an appraisal of both properties.

In 2006, the village gave Newton the ability to develop as many as 130 condos or townhouses in exchange for free land to expand commuter parking by 200 spaces.

@dhmickzawislak

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