Gurnee to buy, tear down two buildings Old Grand Avenue floodplain

  • The village of Gurnee will tear down this building and one other in a floodplain along Old Grand Avenue once the tenants leave. Village trustees approved a plan Monday to buy the buildings for $275,000.

      The village of Gurnee will tear down this building and one other in a floodplain along Old Grand Avenue once the tenants leave. Village trustees approved a plan Monday to buy the buildings for $275,000. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 4/8/2020 8:47 PM

Gurnee trustees approved a plan Monday to purchase two buildings in the Des Plaines River floodplain for $275,000, clearing the way for their eventual demolition.

The four business tenants in the buildings, along Old Grand Avenue near Grand Avenue, will be allowed to remain until their leases end, Village Administrator Patrick Muetz said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Once the buildings are vacant, (the structures) will be removed, then it'll be returned to open space," Muetz said at the village board meeting Monday night.

Ken Nommensen, the owner of the Dairy Queen at 4611 Old Grand Ave., said his lease runs through January 2021, but he plans to relocate in the fall. The business opened at its current location in June 2009.

Since then, he said, he and his staff have endured three major floods, including one in September that piled 14 inches of water in the parking lot.

Nommensen said the property owner offered to sell the building to him before negotiating with the village.

"With all the flooding, there wasn't an endgame for me there," he said. "With the lease being up, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to look for a better, drier location."

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He said is looking to relocate between Stevens' steakhouse and Tacos El Norte restaurant in a strip mall at 401 N. Riverside Drive. He plans to bring all of his current staff to the new location.

"Now we just have to make it through this coronavirus," Nommensen said. "If it's not one thing, it's another."

Teanna Carpenter, a co-owner of L.I.F.T. 31 salon and spa, said the business will close when its lease is up at the end of May.

She is planning to open a new salon called EliteLux Beauty Bar at 1810 N. Delaney Road on June 1, a move she began planning when she heard in February the building could be sold to the village.

Tony Tomasetti, who owns Kirby Co. of Gurnee, said he hopes to stay at his location as long as possible.

"There are not a lot of us anymore," Tomasetti said of his vacuum cleaner sales and repair business. "People come to me from as far as Racine and Kenosha."

The fourth tenant affected by the land sale is a group that rents a small storefront at 4609 Old Grand Ave. for use as a prayer room. A representative of the group could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Over the years the village has purchased and demolished dozens of buildings to combat flooding. By removing the buildings, the flood zone does a better job of soaking up water and the village has to spend fewer resources fighting rising waters and cleaning damage, officials said.

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