Commercial building rising where former Mundelein village hall stood
Months after the chalet-style building that served as Mundelein's village hall for 90 years was unceremoniously demolished, a new structure is rising in its place.
Developer Frank Dziadus is constructing a two-story, 22,950-square-foot building he hopes will attract retail stores, restaurants and offices to Hawley Street. A rooftop dining area is planned, too.
On Monday, laborers in hard hats and neon jackets were laying cinder blocks that eventually will be the exterior and interior walls of the building.
Dziadus said it feels good to see the building starting to rise.
"(We) will be setting steel shortly," he said. "Weather has been very cooperative."
Dziadus bought the site from Mundelein last fall for $1. As part of the purchase agreement, Dziadus will receive more than $1 million in financial incentives from the village, including a large percentage of sales tax generated by any businesses that open there.
The old hall had stood since 1929. It had many uses through its history, including a fire station, jail and community center.
"It's been an important visual downtown landmark as well," Mayor Steve Lentz said.
The building was vacated after a new village hall opened in 2014 at 300 Plaza Circle. Officials tried for years to sell the property, especially to someone who'd preserve the building. But its unusual, multilevel interior layout and safety issues were impediments, officials said.
"There simply was no interest by any possible suitors for the building," Trustee Ray Semple said.
Then Dziadus -- the president of a Mundelein business called Midwest Masonry -- came along.
Lentz called Dziadus' commercial concept "bold and visionary."
Demolition began in early September with no fanfare from village officials. Construction began in late October.
Village officials expect the building will be ready for occupants this summer. The property will feature a marker or monument recognizing the site's former use as a municipal building, officials said.
Semple, who mowed the grass outside the old hall as a summertime municipal employee in his youth, was sad to see the building torn down. But he said he's also excited "for the new possibilities that the new building will bring."
"It is a nice-looking building and should act as a catalyst for other developments," Semple said.