Developer wants to turn vacant Mundelein building into retail, restaurant space

  • A developer is proposing to convert this vacant village-owned industrial building on Morris Avenue into retail and restaurant space.

      A developer is proposing to convert this vacant village-owned industrial building on Morris Avenue into retail and restaurant space. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/14/2016 1:15 PM

A vacant industrial building in downtown Mundelein that recently was purchased by the village would be converted into retail and restaurant space under a developer's proposal.

The plan would turn some of the former roofing supply building at 538 N. Morris Ave. into a store specializing in reclaimed building materials. There would also be room for storage, other retailers and restaurants.


The DeBruler Co., a Libertyville real estate firm, and the Hezner Corp., a Libertyville architectural company, are behind the proposal.

"There is a growing demand for reclaimed lumber and building materials in this area," said Tim DeBruler of the DeBruler Co. "Reusing material is responsible as it reduces the waste stream, but it's also cool and fun."

The 14,850-square-foot brick building also has a partially open structure made of corrugated metal. It was home to Bradco, a division of the ABC Roofing and Supply Co., that relocated to Wauconda in May 2009, according to a village memo. The nearly 3-acre site has been vacant since then.

The developers predict they'll spend $2 million renovating the property and are requesting unspecified financial incentives from the village to help offset that cost.

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The Mundelein village board voted in August to buy the site for $200,000. Owning the land enables the board to better control future development there, officials said.

The would-be developers spoke to the village board about their concept for the site Monday night. Architect Scott Hezner described the plan as unique, saying the development could be a "super anchor" for the eastern side of the downtown area.

The board took no formal action on the project.

Trustees expressed mixed opinions at the meeting and in subsequent interviews.

Trustee Bill Rekus came out strongly against the plan, criticizing it as a "low cost warehouse" without any character.

Trustee Dawn Abernathy said she was concerned about a plan for an outdoor material processing center where sawing, washing and other work would be done. But she also acknowledged it's a new concept for Mundelein and said she likes the village being "on the forefront of new ideas."

Trustee Holly Kim was more enthusiastic, noting reclaimed materials stores are popular with decorators and homeowners.

"People are willing to drive a distance to purchase upscale design components like weathered barn wood," Kim said. "I can imagine that people would come to town for it."

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