Are homes on the horizon for Mundelein's Oak Creek Plaza?

  • Most of Mundelein's Oak Creek Plaza is vacant. Village officials are talking with a developer about building homes there.

      Most of Mundelein's Oak Creek Plaza is vacant. Village officials are talking with a developer about building homes there. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2018

  • Steve Lentz

    Steve Lentz

  • A retail building, shown here in an architect's drawing, is being built on Hawley Street where Mundelein's village hall once stood.

    A retail building, shown here in an architect's drawing, is being built on Hawley Street where Mundelein's village hall once stood. Courtesy of Mundelein

  • A park will replace the former U.S. Music guitar factory in Mundelein. It's part of a $10 million flood-control project.

      A park will replace the former U.S. Music guitar factory in Mundelein. It's part of a $10 million flood-control project. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/25/2020 5:16 AM

Mundelein officials are talking with a national homebuilder about redeveloping the languishing Oak Creek Plaza shopping center, Mayor Steve Lentz revealed Monday during his annual State of the Village address.

However, Lentz stressed the talks with the unidentified developer are in the "early phases." He didn't say what types of homes are being considered for the property.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"(It's) way too early to get into any details," Lentz said.

The mostly vacant center near the southeast corner of routes 45 and 60 has been a source of frustration for village leaders and residents for years.

It once was home to a Menards home improvement store, a Hobby Lobby crafts store and other thriving retailers, but the only tenants now are in some free-standing buildings.

In 2018, a team of real estate consultants said Mundelein should forget about attracting a big-box retailer to the site and instead focus on luring a company that would build smaller retail stores, townhouses or offices.

In his speech Monday night at village hall, Lentz said redeveloping Oak Creek Plaza had been his top priority for Mundelein until the town was hit by a catastrophic deluge in July 2017 that subsequently led to the development of a $10 million flood-prevention effort.

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Construction on that project is set to begin this spring, Lentz said. It will include the installation of larger underground pipes as well as the creation of a new water detention area and a park on the site of the former U.S. Music factory.

Other projects spotlighted Monday included:

• The $23 million public works and engineering facility that's being built on Allanson Road and should be completed this summer.

• The commercial redevelopment of the old village hall property on Hawley Street.

• The anticipated launch in March of a redesigned village website.

• The upcoming Stars on Parade public art project, for which 15 fiberglass stars replicating the village logo will be decorated and displayed in the downtown area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lentz also discussed the state's planned widening of a long stretch of Route 60/83 through Mundelein, thanking Gov. J.B. Pritzker and local lawmakers for securing $129 million for the effort. An overpass that will allow cars to bypass a historically troublesome train crossing is part of that plan, too, Lentz said.

"We're very fortunate to have gotten that project," Lentz said.

After talking for nearly an hour, Lentz and Village Administrator John Lobaito fielded questions from audience members about road reconstruction in the Loch Lomond neighborhood, the status of some downtown properties and sales tax revenue.

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