U-Haul proposes storage, parking expansion in West Dundee
U-Haul has proposed reconfiguring its West Dundee property to expand its storage and parking space. But village officials first want to be sure the changes fit into their long-term vision for the Spring Hill Mall area.
The moving equipment and storage rental company owns three buildings in the Spring Hill Gateway at the northwest corner of Route 31 and Main Street. The village board granted a special use permit in 2014 to allow for the storage use, with the understanding U-Haul would upgrade the site and secure other retailers to fill the remaining tenant space, Village President Chris Nelson said.
Company representatives now want to expand the self-storage operation into the south building along Route 72 and add more rental truck parking near the building closest to the mall.
They have proposed reorienting the east building, which houses Verizon Wireless and Red Wing Shoes, so the storefronts face Route 31. Loading docks would be removed, retail space would be added, and a portion of the structure would be demolished to create a new outlot, according to village documents.
Though understanding of U-Haul's need for more space, Nelson said the submitted plans have not been detailed enough to move forward.
West Dundee has requested a "defined and robust" landscape plan, more descriptive site plans and a schedule for redevelopment -- issues that have not yet been adequately addressed by U-Haul, he said. Company representatives could not be reached for comment.
"Instead of just having an understanding of where we need to go and trusting their ability to redevelop it, we need to make sure everything we're discussing is memorialized," Nelson said. "We need to make it a better space to attract stronger tenants. This has been the narrative the entire time, and none of this should come as a surprise to U-Haul."
The proposal quality is especially crucial, he said, because any changes made to the Spring Hill Gateway could affect the future of the entire Spring Hill Mall campus. Village officials have been eyeing potential redevelopment of the area during the next two decades.
"I'd rather see the (Gateway) space returned to all grass than see it be redeveloped in a desultory fashion," Nelson said. "If it's not of a strong quality and not something that is competitive for strong retail tenants, I will not support it."
The village board tabled U-Haul's proposal in August, at which point company representatives said the delay could hinder their ability to secure certain tenants with whom they had been negotiating. They also said they had hired outside landscaping, architect and engineering firms to help meet West Dundee's specifications.
Village officials have been communicating with U-Haul and hope to revisit its proposal this month, Nelson said.
"I am hopeful that we can reach an accord," he said. "And I hope the petitioner can understand why we're pushing for an increase of quality in what they are proposing."