Business park on former Huntley outlet site? Some trustees skeptical
An Elgin developer is seeking to rezone a portion of the former Huntley Outlet Center site to allow for redevelopment as a business park.
The village board did a courtesy review of a conceptual plan last week for the nearly 68-acre property north of Interstate 90 and east of Route 47.
Owners are seeking to rezone the easternmost 31.5 acres for office, research and light industrial/manufacturing uses and get a special use permit to allow warehouse distribution.
The 279,000-square-foot outlet mall shuttered and was razed last spring after operating more than 22 years.
The property was purchased in April 2016 by Huntley Investment Partners LLC -- comprising Elgin's The Capital Companies LLC; Chicago-based The Prime Group, Inc., which built the center in 1994; and Craig Realty Group, a California-based development and management firm of upscale factory outlet centers.
"We first tried to revive the outlet center. It didn't work," said Michael Reschke, chairman and CEO of The Prime Group. "Chicago is a distribution center. With the change of retailing and the internet ... the need for fulfillment centers and distribution is really driving the demand for space."
The conceptual plan proposes subdividing the 31.5 acres into two lots and developing two office/warehouse and distribution buildings of roughly 245,000 square feet each. The buildings could be connected in future with a 51,000-square-foot extension. There would be parking for 517 vehicles and 94 truck trailers with the potential to add 80 truck spaces, documents show.
The western 17.6-acre parcel would remain under its current regional retail zoning as there is no alternative use proposed at this time, Village Manager Dave Johnson said.
Remaining land would accommodate roughly 16 acres of stormwater detention and about 2.6 acres for a private roadway providing shared access to the two zoned properties.
Some trustees expressed concern about turning the property into industrial space with vacancies throughout the region and questioned whether an office building would be a better option.
"An office building would not be viable here," said Reschke, adding the Northwest suburbs have the highest vacancy rate for office space -- 30 percent -- in the nation. "The industrial vacancy rate in Chicago is 7 or 8 percent in the overall market. That's one of the lowest levels in the last three decades."
Reschke said it's likely office use would be restricted to between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet each within the two warehouse buildings proposed.
The village plan commission will review the proposal in the coming months.