Mayor: 'Once-in-a-generation opportunity' will transform West Chicago
West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda says the city has begun a "transformation" as it pursues redevelopment projects that include plans to build hundreds of residential dwellings in downtown.
Pineda said the city hopes to select a developer this year for its Central-Main Street redevelopment plan. The targeted area is comprised mostly of city-owned land between city hall and Washington Street.
"This once-in-a-generation opportunity will realize West Chicago's enormous transit-oriented development potential," Pineda said Monday during his State of the City address.
The plan calls for the construction of hundreds of residential dwellings, including apartments and townhouses, that would attract retail businesses and "re-energize" downtown, Pineda said.
With the addition of "beautiful open space" and potential retail amenities, Pineda said the plan "represents the largest single physical transformation to downtown West Chicago in its history."
Because the city hall property likely will be included in the redevelopment, Pineda said a new city hall site needs to be found.
"While the timeline and location ... has not yet been determined, we are looking to incorporate a new city hall within the footprint of a larger civic center development," he said.
In addition to the plan for downtown, Pineda said there's growing momentum at the DuPage Business Center, which is owned by the DuPage Airport Authority.
Last fall, ground was broken on the first of three projects announced for the 800-acre business park south of Roosevelt Road.
Construction was continuing Tuesday on a 782,000-square-foot building that eventually will be occupied by Suncast Corp. The Batavia-based company, which manufactures custom wood structures and resin products, plans to replace a warehouse in Montgomery with the warehouse, distribution and showroom facility.
Norix Group, Inc. and Greco and Sons, Inc. also are planning developments in the business park.
Norix Group, which makes commercial furniture, decided to stay in West Chicago and construct a 200,000-square-foot global headquarters. Greco and Sons, an Italian foods distribution company based in Bartlett, plans to build a food processing and warehouse center.
Pineda said the projects were made possible because several taxing districts in West Chicago worked with the city "to create a strong incentive package that attracted these high-quality developers and outstanding companies."
"Our partners were able to see the big picture of just how significantly these developments would translate to enhanced ongoing revenue streams for West Chicago," Pineda said.
Estimates show the Suncast and Norix projects will jointly provide nearly 400 permanent and more than 600 construction jobs, generating a combined $94 million in economic impact.
Meanwhile, Pineda said two yet-to-be-named projects are planned for the business park. The first would build a 200,000-square-foot distribution facility. The other would construct a 300,000-square-foot distribution facility.
"We think we've cracked the code on attracting quality development," he said.
Pineda also announced good news for two vacant car dealerships. He said a former Ford dealer on Roosevelt Road will become a seller of pre-owned luxury vehicles. And a former Volkswagen dealer on North Avenue is opening as a pre-owned vehicle dealer.
The mayor lamented the closing of the Cascade Drive-In.
The theater, which had operated on 28 acres at 1100 E. North Ave. since 1961, was unable to continue because the owners of the land the business leased are trying to sell the site.
"We were lucky to have had this iconic business in our community," said Pineda, adding that the city's role now is to work with the property owner or developer "to ensure that future land use is complementary to our community's character."