Lake Zurich mayor frustrated about pace of downtown development

 
 
Updated 2/8/2018 5:27 PM
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  • Lake Zurich officials plan to formally market this conceptual design they unveiled in September for the Block A property in an attempt to inspire developers to build businesses downtown.

    Lake Zurich officials plan to formally market this conceptual design they unveiled in September for the Block A property in an attempt to inspire developers to build businesses downtown. Courtesy of Village of Lake Zurich

  • Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton

    Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton

Lake Zurich residents disappointed there aren't more businesses in the village's downtown are not alone, Mayor Thomas Poynton said during his State of the Village address this week.

"Join the club," Poynton said. "We're all in the same boat."

The village has struggled to attract new business downtown because not enough people live there, according to developers who've discussed the matter with village staff.

"What we've been told by every person who has come through is that there's not enough critical mass of residents down there in downtown to sustain a regular 12-hour business day," Poynton said.

Those statements came during the question-and-answer session after his speech Tuesday. Poynton assured his audience that the village is doing everything in its power to bring new businesses downtown.

"We're encouraging it, we're looking for it," he said. "We attend shows where (Assistant Village Manager) Roy (Witherow) and myself and (Village Manager) Ray (Keller) and (Community Development Director) Sarosh (Saher), we're begging for people to take a look at what we have to offer for downtown with the lake and the center of town and the empty properties."

In September 2017, the village created a concept plan for a two-story downtown retail center for the vacant lot near the corner of Main and Lake streets. The planned development would provide 19,000 square feet of new restaurant or commercial space and sweeping views of the village's namesake lake.

The village hopes developers will look at the plan and either try to bring it to life as is or it would inspire them to make their own plan on the long-vacant spot.

Although the village has yet to draw interest in the site commonly referred to as Block A, plans are in the works to formally market the property, officials said Thursday.

"We're going to focus on developers who have experience building similar business developments," Saher said. "It's possible they come back with new ideas."

Poynton encouraged the residents who attended Tuesday's address to reach out to any developers they know and tell them about everything Lake Zurich has to offer.

A video of the mayor's State of the Village address can be found on the Village of Lake Zurich YouTube page or at facebook.com/VillageOfLakeZurich.

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