Why some Lisle leaders are skeptical about downtown apartment project

A developer wants to buy and demolish a half-vacant shopping center in downtown Lisle and build a multimillion-dollar apartment and retail complex in its place.

But the mayor and several trustees are questioning whether the village needs more apartments.

“I think it's the apartment component that concerns me,” Mayor Christopher Pecak said. “We have an awful lot of rental (properties) already in Lisle.”

A representative of Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties on Monday showed the village board a concept of what the company wants to build at the southeast corner of Main Street and Ogden Avenue. The site currently houses the Family Square Shopping Center and an empty lot where a gas station once stood.

Flaherty & Collins has a letter of intent to purchase the shopping center from Oxford Bank, but it has not yet submitted a formal proposal to the village.

Village Manager Eric Ertmoed said the review was designed to give the board a chance to comment on the concept, which was revised since trustees first saw it last summer.

Julie Collier, vice president of development with Flaherty & Collins, said the building would be three to four stories with about 37,000 square feet of first-floor retail and commercial space along Ogden and Main. It also would offer 164 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Plans call for a parking structure with 390 spaces that Collier said would be enough for the residential and commercial uses, as well as for those visiting downtown.

A landscaped park is proposed for the southern end of the property at School Street and Spencer Avenue.

Collier told the village board she's open to feedback and the company is willing to tweak its plan “if the trustees think we're close and we could come to an agreement on what could go on this site.”

Flaherty & Collins is planning to seek tenants for the retail space, but Pecak said he wishes the developer already knew what businesses would go there.

“I think we should focus on attracting the retail and trying to have development tailored to that,” Trustee Cathy Cawiezel said.

Trustees Marie Hasse and Kelly Dixit questioned whether Lisle needs more apartments. They said downtown already is in line for 201 new luxury apartments when Naperville-based Marquette Companies opens its two-building Marq on Main.

“We don't know the impact yet that Marquette is going to have on our downtown,” Hasse said. “We don't know how many people it's going to bring. We don't know how many of those units are going to be rented.”

But Trustee Mark Boyle said he's comfortable with more apartments.

“Let's figure out what we need to put together to make this thing work instead of just putting the kibosh on it right now,” he said.

Trustee Anthony Carballo said the project would be a nice addition and help downtown businesses.

“They need more people in the downtown area,” he said. “And we need to be more aggressive with economic development. We're losing time.”

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