Carpentersville moves a step closer to revitalizing Huntley Square

  • The Huntley Square buildings at the corner of Route 31 and Huntley Road have been unoccupied and neglected for years as Carpentersville officials tried to secure a developer to revitalize the site.

      The Huntley Square buildings at the corner of Route 31 and Huntley Road have been unoccupied and neglected for years as Carpentersville officials tried to secure a developer to revitalize the site. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/23/2020 9:48 PM

After years of watching Huntley Square deteriorate, Carpentersville officials moved a step closer this week to revitalizing the property that serves as a gateway to the village.

At this week's board meeting, the trustees voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the village's largest employer, Otto Engineering, which is purchasing the 3-acre property from the out-of-state owner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The agreement states the village will purchase the property from Otto Engineering at cost with tax increment financing money if Otto is unable to sell the property to a developer by the end of 2021.

"You never know if it's going to pan out, but we've got some real leads on this," said Carpentersville Village Manager Eric Johnson. "Without the current ownership group standing in the way, we're confident we'll be able to find a partner to move forward."

The "put option" agreement comes after Otto Engineering submitted a structural and environmental analysis of the property, a study paid for with $48,374 of Old Town TIF District funds, which is property tax money set aside for redevelopment of that designated area. The analysis concluded the structures should be razed but the underground parking garage is sound.

Otto Engineering is purchasing Huntley Square, at the southwest corner of Route 31 and Huntley Road, for $1,050,000 and estimates the demolition cost at about $685,000. Should the "put option" go into effect and the village purchase the property from Otto at the end of 2021, the estimated cost of $1,735,000 will be significantly less than the owner's original $2 million asking price before demolition costs.

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The village also would retain possession of the property analysis to show potential developers.

"We can't have this building sitting there in the condition it's in," Johnson said. "Not only does it look bad, but it's unsafe."

Huntley Square, built in the 1980s, stands at one of Carpentersville's busiest intersections and has been vacant since early 2017. Since then, the buildings have fallen into disrepair due to neglect, causing the village to enter into litigation with the owner.

Otto Engineering has told the village it intends to demolish the structures as soon as possible.

Johnson said the footprint and underground garage offer an opportunity for retail and residential use or perhaps for a small hotel, which Johnson said would be the first in the village.

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