'A big deal': Wirtz family proposes housing, commercial development for massive site near Mundelein

The family that owns the Chicago Blackhawks wants to turn more than 700 acres of farmland it owns near Mundelein into a housing, commercial and industrial development, village officials confirmed.

If the Wirtz family's vision becomes reality, the land would be annexed into Mundelein and become the largest development by acreage in Lake County, Village Administrator Eric Guenther said.

"This is a big deal," Guenther said. "(It) could prove to be a very extraordinary development for Mundelein, the Wirtz family and Lake County as a whole."

Most of the property being eyed for redevelopment is north of Route 60 and south of Peterson Road, northwest of the Mundelein Crossings shopping center. It's been owned by the Wirtzes since the 1850s and is home to the Ivanhoe Nursery & Farms, a wholesale operation selling ornamental trees and shrubs.

A large house and other buildings are on the property. In August, firefighters rescued two people from the house after a fire erupted inside.

Some of the land being eyed for the project adjoins the private Ivanhoe Club south of Route 60.

More land could be added to the proposed annexation and redevelopment plan, Guenther said.

Officially, the property is owned by W Sports Media and the Wirtz Corp., documents indicate. Rocky Wirtz, the principal owner and chairman of the Blackhawks, is listed as the president of both organizations.

In addition to the Blackhawks and the farm property, the Wirtz Corp.'s holdings include Breakthru Beverage Group, Illinois-based First Security Trust & Savings Bank, the United Center and residential real estate through the Wirtz Realty Corp.

A Wirtz Corp. representative could not be reached for comment.

Guenther declined to detail the family's specific plans for the land. They will be unveiled to the public at the village board's Dec. 12 meeting.

"We're all extremely excited to hear the presentation," Mayor Steve Lentz said.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at village hall, 300 Plaza Circle. It also can be viewed online at

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  A fire-damaged house on the 21000 block of West Route 60 near Mundelein is on the property being eyed for a massive redevelopment. Brian Hill/
  The family that owns the Chicago Blackhawks wants to turn more than 700 acres of farmland it owns along Route 60 near Mundelein into a housing, commercial and industrial development. Brian Hill/
Rocky Wirtz, principal owner and chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, and his family have proposed redeveloping more than 700 acres of farmland near Mundelein and annexing the property into the village. Associated Press
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