Luxury apartments, grocery store proposed for long-vacant DuPage Theatre site
A $31 million mixed-use development featuring luxury apartments and a cooperatively-owned grocery store is being proposed for a property in downtown Lombard that's been vacant for more than a decade.
Trustees on Thursday picked Holladay Properties as the preferred developer to buy and redevelop the village-owned site along South Main Street immediately south of Parkside Avenue.
Holladay still needs formal approval from Lombard to build the project. This week's vote simply allows the village to begin negotiations to sell the property to the Indiana-based real estate firm.
T. Drew Mitchell, vice president of development with Holladay, said the company is thrilled with the opportunity.
The company is proposing a four-story, 120,000-square-foot building with 120 luxury apartments and 3,000 square feet of commercial space, possibly a restaurant, on the ground floor. A second 12,000-square-foot building would house Prairie Food Co-op.
Village President Keith Giagnorio said he's pleased to see a project proposed for the site of the former DuPage Theatre.
The land was donated to the village in 1999, and the theater that stood there was demolished in May 2007. Nothing happened with the property after the theater was razed because of the economic downturn.
"It was one my goals when I was first elected to look for a sound project," Giagnorio said. "Be transparent and do the right thing for the long term."
Village trustees initially said they wanted a grocery store on the 2.19-acre site, which has a commuter parking lot sandwiched between two fields.
However, no one responded in 2017 when Lombard sought proposals for a grocery store. So the village made another request for proposals that was more open-ended. Four proposals were submitted last April.
Trustee Bill Johnston, who serves as chairman of the economic and community development committee, said the panel spent months reviewing proposals before recommending Holladay as the preferred developer.
Johnston said about 200 people, many of them young professionals and empty-nesters, are expected to live in the luxury apartment building.
"I think that's going to spark the downtown quite a bit," Johnston said. "It's going to put the demand in for more restaurants, more services. We need that influx -- that density -- of population to do that."
Mitchell said the location is perfect for high-end apartments because it's centrally located with proximity to retail businesses, offices and the Metra station.
"The folks that are downsizing and selling their home," he said, "want to be in a walkable environment."
Prairie Food Co-op, meanwhile, will meet the need for a downtown grocery store.
Organizers have been working to bring the co-op to Lombard since 2012. Hundreds of owner-investors already have purchased shares of the business, which gives them a lifetime membership and entitles them to perks and discounts once the store is open.
"We couldn't be more excited to be working with Prairie Food Co-op," Mitchell said. "This is a highly organized group, and I believe they're going to be really successful. I think it's going to cater not just to downtown residents, but to all of Lombard."
Holladay will need a real estate contract with the village before the project can be reviewed by the plan commission. The company has offered to pay Lombard $1.5 million for the site. It's asking the village for economic incentives for the project.
Village officials said public hearings on the project could start by summer. If the project is approved, construction could start late this year or early next year. The work wouldn't be completed until late 2020 or 2021.