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Old October 17th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #361
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http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=321282

Downtowns draw people who enjoy being a part of the action
By Sherry Giewald


As you get off the train, you're surrounded with a bounty of amenities. You head to an Italian restaurant and meet a friend for dinner. Afterward, you stop at the bank and a boutique. You then top the evening off with a Starbucks coffee and head home to your cozy condo.

This downtown lifestyle in the suburbs is gaining popularity with people of all ages who like the concept of living in a new condominium or townhouse, walking to the train and having the library, bank, post office, restaurants, salons and coffee shops all within walking distance of their residences.
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http://searchchicago.suntimes.com/ho...100909.article

Home sales better near Metra stations
October 9, 2009


What's it worth to live near a suburban Metra stop? According to a new survey: 2 to 4 percent of the purchase price. And that's if you can find a home near a stop - the same study finds those homes are scarcer.

During 2009, Chicago suburbs served by Metra commuter trains saw the average price of a home decline less sharply than other areas of the seven-county suburban Chicago real estate market, according to a study of home sales activity by RE/MAX.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #362
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http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=320468

Condo groups join Oakbrook Terrace fight against development
By Jake Griffin


Two Oakbrook Terrace condominium associations have filed a lawsuit against DuPage County and a controversial developer seeking to halt a massive residential and retail project.

...The board's approval in April allowed Royce Realty to build up to 2,000 new residential units on 82 undeveloped acres near Butterfield Road and Ardmore Avenue. At least 500 of the residential units would be set aside for a seniors. The plan also called for a hotel, retail shops and other amenities. Officials from Royce anticipated construction costs for the entire development to run at about $750 million.
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Looking at Royce's crappy website, the project doesn't look to exciting. The site plan (by Fitzgerald Associates) shows two 18 story towers, a 14 story building, and multiple 3-6 story buildings in typical suburban fashion.

The interesting part of the story: the developer spent time in prison after trying to bribe Oakbrook Terrace officials into approving his original plans by rigging a hole-in-one contest at a golf course he owned so that the mayor's son would win a 1931 Cadillac.
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Old October 30th, 2009, 03:46 AM   #363
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Gosh corruption linking Chicago politics to anything??? Impossible!

And here goes my $100 that the court sides with the corrupt developer and the county.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 11:07 PM   #364
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Lululemon is opening another store, this time in downtown Naperville at 21 West Jefferson.
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http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=355046

Elgin Community College, Elgin swap land, classroom space
By Harry Hitzeman and Kerry Lester


Elgin Community College plans to close its downtown Elgin campus as part of the city's plan to bring a 56-unit artists' co-op and gallery to town.

In exchange for giving the 60,000-square-foot Fountain Square Campus building at 51 S. Spring St. to the city, ECC will receive 16 acres of city-owned land just south of Spartan Drive adjacent to the college's main campus, according to agreements passed by both parties this week.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #365
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A good story about affordable housing in Lake Forest and its benefits. Hopefully more upscale suburban towns become more proactive and try to put some affordable housing near the Metra stations especially.

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...,5414664.story

Lake Forest searching for affordable housing solution

By Sharon Stangenes, Special to the Tribune

February 7, 2010

Carla Gardner, 72, raised three children and has lived all of her adult life on Chicago's North Shore. A homemaker, Gardner was widowed in her late 30s. Ten years later, when the family's five-store business closed, Gardner sold the family home and went to work.

For the last 12 years, she has lived in a subsidized one-bedroom apartment, part of the Neighborhood Homes Without Walls program, a collaboration of the city of Lake Forest, the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Seniors Center and Lake Forest Place, a Presbyterian Homes senior-living development.

"There is nothing" in her price range, says Gardner of market-rate suburban housing. "They all want $1,200 to $1,500 a month."

Lake Forest is about to help more residents like Gardner. While other communities worry about too much affordable housing thanks to a rising tide of foreclosures, Lake Forest is trying to put some back into its housing mix.

A proposal to build 16 two- and three-bedroom homes, 15 of which will be rented for less than $1,000 a month, began a public review and approval process last month as a first step toward consideration by the Lake Forest City Council.

"It helps our seniors who are often desperate. It opens options for schoolteachers and for people who work at the hospital so they don't have to drive 50 miles and spend all their income on commuting," says Thomas Morsch Jr., a Lake Forest alderman and proponent of the proposed Settler's Green project.

Founded more than a century ago by some of Chicago's wealthiest families, this city of 21,000 residents remains one of the region's most affluent and desirable communities. Perched on prime lakefront property, the town's mix of gracious homes, wide lawns, architecturally historic downtown and array of private schools combine to give Lake Forest a movie-set aura.

Yet several years ago local officials realized Lake Forest — and the nearby suburbs of Highland Park, Northbrook, Deerfield and Highwood — were losing housing for a wide range of people.

Though known for its mansions, Lake Forest historically has had a mix of worker cottages as well as housing for shopkeepers, schoolteachers and other mid-income professionals and service workers, says Peter Coutant, the city's senior planner.

Concern for those living on fixed incomes led to construction of the Senior Cottage Development, composed of five rental homes, in 2003. But even as the first residents moved in, the housing boom had pushed the city's home prices nearly 66 percent above 1994 levels.

The recession slowed increases in property values, but with an estimated median household income that is more than double the national number and a median home value estimated at $900,000, Lake Forest is too expensive for most who work there to live there.

"There is a huge gap between workers and the housing," says Morsch. "Sixty-nine percent of the (five suburb) community-area work force earns less than $50,000 a year, but only 13 percent of local housing stock is affordable for that income."

Morsch, who grew up in Lake Forest, says income and housing diversity has contributed to the suburb's quality of life and he wants to see that continue. But as the region has become a corporate center with such firms as Abbott Laboratories, Walgreen Co. and Tenneco Inc., local housing and traffic patterns are becoming more complex.

"We've lost some key staff because they didn't want to live so far from where they work," says Leslie Chapman, vice president for business affairs for Lake Forest College, a four-year liberal arts college of 1,400 students.

She cites the case of a college official who moved to Indianapolis "to work for Butler University because the housing was closer and more affordable."

Over the years, the college has tried to bridge the gap between Lake Forest's high living standard and faculty salaries. The school has 30 subsidized rental units, most on or near the college campus, for nontenured teachers and to recruit faculty newcomers. It offers a second mortgage program to help faculty members, and an employer-assisted home purchase program for support staff and newcomers meeting certain key guidelines.

Lake Forest Hospital also subsidizes a handful of rental units on the hospital grounds. They are for staffers new to the area or moderate-income employees who want to live close to work or have transportation issues, says Mathew Koschmann, vice president of external affairs and business development.

"The majority of employees do not live in Lake Forest," he said.

"It is important for us to have good response times for employees in times of emergency," he said, noting the hospital's required 30-minute response time for some staffers is increasingly difficult in traffic-clogged Lake County.

Affordable housing emerged as an issue within the last several years and was "acutely noticeable" in 2008 when gas prices skyrocketed, Koschmann says.

In early 2005, Lake Forest adopted an affordable housing plan soon after the state passed legislation with a goal of making 10 percent of all housing affordable to those making 60 percent or less of area median income.

With only 5 percent of its housing in that category, Lake Forest adopted a plan that Robin Snyderman, vice president of community development for the Metropolitan Planning Council, calls "a model for other communities." It is an "impressive" illustration of "good stewardship," says Snyderman.

The plan calls for a housing committee, a demolition tax with a portion of the revenues going to a trust fund to be used for affordable housing, a goal of 15 percent of affordable units in all new developments or redevelopments, expedited or reduced cost of permit fees for affordable projects, and promotion of employer-assisted housing. It aims to increase the city's affordable options and ensure those homes blend architecturally and aesthetically with existing housing and are close to public transportation, shopping and parks.

In September, Lake Forest won $756,000 in federal low-income tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority for Settler's Green. The tax credits are expected to generate more than $5.1 million in private equity to help build the rentals on city-donated property at Everett and Telegraph roads. The housing will be close to retail and a Metra station.

The project faces close scrutiny as it goes through the approval process, however. In March 2009, about 100 residents filled the city council chambers to protest transferring city-owned property for possible development of affordable housing. Some residents were not happy with the site, according to published accounts, because it would increase traffic congestion. Others expressed concerns the city was rushing the project. Questions were asked about what impact "affordable housing" would have on neighboring property values and who would live in the eight duplex buildings.

Officials said there is little evidence the housing would affect property values.

"I am certain that the final development will be a source of pride for the community — well-managed, well-designed, and home to seniors, key workers and other valued households," said then-Mayor Michael Rummel in support of Settler's Green in March. Rummel, whose term ended last spring, had been one of five North Shore mayors who in 2007 reached out to the business community to try to find housing solutions for more area workers.

As to the future residents of the proposed Settler's Green rental homes, Marge Burda, director of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Center, says, "People don't realize it is their neighbor" who will live there.

"It's the people they see every day, especially in this economic time," she says, citing a 2007 survey that found 250 households of seniors 55 and older qualified for the housing.
..
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Old February 14th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #366
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Quote:
http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....an-towers.html


Suburban sprawl, meet suburban tall; new high-rises offer chance for lively, walkable communities, but suburbs can't decide whether they want to be like the big city or distinct from it

February 12, 2010
Blair Kamin

Skyscraper! The word conjures up soaring towers of steel-and-glass--along with congested streets and blotted-out patches of sky. For years, Chicago has been defined by its skyscrapers, its suburbs by their single-family houses. Yet this age-old dichotomy has little to do with the way we live and work today.

In an arc extending from Evanston (left) to Schaumburg to Oak Brook, a new crop of tall buildings has invaded the placid, wide-open spaces of Chicago’s suburbs. And now, despite the recession, another skyscraper may be coming to some very sacred suburban turf: right down the street from a cluster of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in Oak Park, including the architect’s very own Home and Studio.

It is amusing to picture a nattily dressed Wright walking out the front door of the shingle-clad Home and Studio (left) and looking down Forest Avenue at the planned, glass-sheathed skyscraper, which at 20 stories would be Oak Park’s tallest building. Presumably, he would have detested it. Wright, who died in 1959 loved to wickedly refer to the clean-lined shapes of modern design as “flat-chested architecture.”

But divining the old master’s reaction to the proposed, $85 million hotel and condominium skyscraper matters less than the broader trend the proposal reveals: This is the age of “suburban tall,” a counterweight to the much-criticized phenomenon of suburban sprawl. Yet many of Chicago’s suburbs seem ill-equipped to deal with the trend, sending confusing signals about whether they want to be like the big city or distinct from it.

“There’s no clarity,” said John LaMotte, principal of The Lakota Group, a Chicago-based planning and design firm. “It’s a fire fight on every single project, and it really shouldn’t be.”

A generation ago, there was little reason for enlightened regulation. In those days, suburban skyscrapers tended to be office buildings along highways. They reflected a pattern of “leap-frog development,” in which growth jumped over inner-ring suburbs like Evanston and Oak Park in favor of suburban boomtowns like Schaumburg. A case in point: The Helmut Jahn-designed, octagon-shaped Oakbrook Terrace Tower of 1986 (left)—still the tallest building in the suburbs at 31 stories.

But the new suburban skyscrapers, as exemplified by the clusters of towers that have popped up in Arlington Heights and Evanston, are typically built in the heart of historic, transit-oriented downtowns. They are examples of what planners call “infill development,” filling the gaps in existing suburbs rather than shaping new ones. Yet their emergence has turned out to be anything but peaceful.

These towers, which tend to be residential, have created a built-in clientele that boosts the fortunes of restaurants, shops and movie theaters. That allows aging downtowns to compete against suburban mega-malls. Yet the scale of the new towers—a dramatic departure from comfy, old Main Streets and residential neighborhoods around them—has raised questions of urban compatibility (below) that their highway-oriented predecessors did not face.

In 2007, for example, a task force appointed to update Arlington Heights’ 1987 downtown master plan recommended reducing height limits in the suburb’s pedestrian-scaled downtown core and areas on the downtown’s flanks. But in 2008 the village board tabled the recommendations after local developers and property owners objected, according to Charles Witherington-Perkins, the suburb’s planning chief. The board felt it still had the appropriate tools “to moderate the height of any new proposed development,” he said.

Such tensions came to a boil in Evanston in 2008 after developers Tim Anderson and James Klutznick unveiled plans to construct a 49-story, 523-foot condominium tower which would have supplanted the Oakbrook Terrace Tower as the talllest building in the suburbs and would have been nearly twice as tall as Evanston’s tallest building.

Chicago architect Laurence Booth argued that his design for a tall, thin, glass-sheathed tower would give Evanston the best of both worlds—energy-saving density without overwhelming bulk. Yet protesters argued that the design would produce an over-scaled monstrosity that would join with neighboring skyscrapers to create a bland high-rise thicket that would raise rents and uproot local merchants. “No Skyscrapers,” their buttons said, even though the downtown was already dotted with them.

The outcome was a compromise with disappointments for both sides. Evanston last year approved a downtown height limit of 35 stories, which will hardly allow the soaring tower Booth envisioned, and gave the project’s developers a three-year extension (until 2013) to break ground, disappointing opponents who are still fighting the project.

The fundamental problem, many observers agree, is that the skyscraper proposal emerged before Evanston had completed a new master plan that articulated its vision for downtown—and how the scale, massing and other features of new buildings should reflect that.

“They were zoning per [individual] site,” said LaMotte, who helped develop the plan. “They weren’t really looking at the big picture.”

A comparable lack of clarity surrounds the controversial Oak Park proposal (left), which is known as the Lake & Forest Development in recognition of the streets that flank it. Oak Park’s Village Board is expected to take up the proposal next month.

Backed by a Chicago-based developer, Sertus Capital Partners, the plan calls for the construction of a 140-room hotel, 85 condos, about 28,000 square feet of retail space and a 510-space parking garage on the site of an aging, village-owned parking garage and a vacant, one-story commercial building that once housed a popular pancake house (below). In addition, Oak Park would pay the developer $9.8 million for 300 publicly owned spaces in the garage and give the hotel a $500,000 operating subsidy for its first two years of operation.

These obligations, which the deal’s supporters say would be balanced by an estimated increase in real estate, sales and hotel tax revenues totaling at least $1 million annually, have naturally raised concerns about whether the deal makes financial sense. But the urban design issues are no less nettlesome, given the high quality of nearby buildings.

To the north, along tree-lined Forest Avenue, is a spectacular row of Wright-designed homes that draw an estimated 80,000 tourists a year. To the east and west stretches the human-scaled Lake Street shopping and residential district, with its alluring mix of Art Deco, Dutch Revival and neo-classical buildings, along with Wright’s Unity Temple, a powerful essay in exposed concrete. To the south across Lake is a clunky, brick-faced residential tower, about 165 feet tall.

Does another tall building make sense in such a context? Oak Park’s 1990 comprehensive plan states that the suburb “does not wish to develop large concentrations of high-density buildings in any one part of the village,” although it opens the door for a possible exception on Lake Street. The suburb’s greater downtown master plan, adopted in 2005, goes a step further, saying that retaining the village’s historic, small-town feel should be one of Oak Park’s guiding development principles. In response, the height limit for the proposed skyscraper site was reduced to 80 feet from 125 feet.

Case closed? Not quite. The design, by the Chicago architectural firm Epstein, does a better-than-average job of diminishing the impact of its big building program while introducing new uses that could jump-start a downtown that many describe as an economic laggard. “Is it Santiago Calatrava? No,” acknowledged Sertus principal Michael Glazier, referring to the renowned architect who designed the stalled Chicago Spire super tower. “Santiago Calatrava isn’t affordable in Oak Park.”

Instead of a single, chunky block, Epstein calls for thin offset slabs with overriding planes of glass, which would de-emphasize the tower’s bulk. In addition, the architects have deftly hidden the project’s parking garage behind a two-story retail base with a lively folded glass facade. And they have wisely placed the tower’s highest point at the corner while stepping the skyscraper downward to the residential districts to the north and east (left). This skyscraper promises to be a good neighbor, not the bully down the block.

Still, it is hard not to have mixed feelings about this plan. If the project succeeds, which is by no means a certainty given that Sertus has yet to obtain financing, other developers will likely come along with high-rise proposals of their own. And the same cycle of conflicting principles and bitter debate will start all over again.

What’s needed instead, said LaMotte, is comprehensive urban planning that lays out complementary design directions for developers and architects without being overly prescriptive. “Developers and builders are looking for a clear direction from communities rather than fighting for three years and nothing gets done,” he said.

Clarity is everything as towns confront the new realities of “suburban tall.” But clarity can only be achieved if suburbs take a hard look at themselves and ask: Who are we and how should our buildings reflect that? The recession-induced pause in development may the best time of all to do that—before the next wave of towers hits.
..
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Old March 14th, 2010, 11:59 PM   #367
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http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=364482

Libertyville's School Street project revived
By Mick Zawislak


A long-idled plan to create an old-fashioned neighborhood near downtown Libertyville has been rekindled.

...StreetScape is proposing single-family homes based on the fundamentals of "New Urbanism," which promotes walking, offers smaller homes that are close together in a variety of designs and is close to public transit.
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Old March 19th, 2010, 12:35 AM   #368
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Heres some more on the Riverfront Developments in Aurora:

Quote:
Article from the Sunday March 12th Edition of the Beacon News

Developers taking different paths on riverside

By David Garbe
STAFF WRITER

AURORA — In concept, it would be easy to see the two new downtown redevelopment projects as mirror images, facing off across the waters of the Fox River.

Both are bold attempts to transform derelict riverfront properties. Both are brain children of ambitious, well-financed developers with Fox Valley roots.

Both would build urban-style condos and business districts. Both share a special taxing district that allows them to receive millions in tax rebates from the city.

And, like all mirror images, the two projects reflect some critical opposites.

The River Street Plaza project, proposed by Batavia developer Joe Vantreese for the west bank of the Fox, is smaller but includes very specific plans for multiple buildings with 180 condos and 20 restaurants.

Vantreese has cleared the property and opened a sales center, and last week, the city openly indicated it will provide the tax rebates upon which the project depends: $26 million to be paid strictly from revenues generated by the project itself.

Aldermen made it clear Thursday they would approve the project and the tax rebate when it comes before the City Council this week, but that support emerged only after six months of contentious negotiations.

On the other side of the river, the yet-to-be-named project proposed by Geneva developer Kent Shodeen proposes to spawn hundreds of condos and a variety of office spaces but so far has little to show for it besides soil borings and property options.

Nevertheless, prior months of private negotiations with a few city officials set the stage in January for Aurora to commit at least $13.5 million in tax rebates to the Shodeen project, at least $6 million of which will come in advance of any tax revenues. That deal was approved within barely two weeks of its public announcement.

"We do have two people that have approached this differently," acknowledged Bob Vaughan, the chief of staff for Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner.

Despite the contrast between the "front-door" and "back-door" approaches, Vaughan warned armchair urban planners against reading too much into the development process. "We don't have a mold where you have to approach the city in one way."



Special tax districts


Neither are the two developments competing for a common pot of public money, Vaughan said. "Each of these agreements is going to be self-contained."
The financial incentives for each project are coming strictly from the tax base created by the projects themselves, via a tax-increment-financing district.

In other words, the money that the city has promised to spend helping the two developers is supposed to come directly from the increased taxes they pay on their properties once construction and other improvements begin.

For Vantreese's River Street Plaza project, the city has agreed to rebate $26 million in property taxes over the next 18 years through a "pay-as-you-go" arrangement.

That means money will be paid out only if and when the property is improved enough to generate increased tax revenues.

The city is funding Shodeen's incentives through the same mechanism, but the development agreement for that project requires the city to spend $6 million up front, with the rest coming after the developer's investments begin to grow tax revenues on the property.

The risk in that kind of arrangement is that, if the development never happens, the city is stuck paying off the advance payment without the extra tax revenue.



Building on reputation


In the case of the Shodeen development, backers say the guarantee is Shodeen himself.
"He's not going to get involved with something where he doesn't believe it could happen," Weisner said of Shodeen. The mayor pointed to Geneva's riverfront, where the developer has built residential and commercial projects similar to what he will undertake in Aurora.

As part of the Seize the Future downtown planning initiative, Aurora's economic development staff began courting a short list of prominent regional developers almost a year ago.

Shodeen was the first one — and so far the only one — to bite, said Seize the Future director David Dorgan, who had built a relationship with the developer during Dorgan's career as the city manager of Elgin.

At Dorgan's invitation, Shodeen examined several properties around the downtown but ultimately settled on the large, yet challenging, old Burlington depot parcel.

Dorgan said he asked Shodeen to do a feasibility study.

"He said, 'Why would you ask me to do something that shows there's no market?'" Dorgan recalled.

Shodeen himself has spoken about his project creating a market all by itself. At 37 acres, the property is large enough to have "its own environment and its own features," he said when the deal was announced.

People familiar with Shodeen say he does not shy away from a complex deal. Creating the sprawling Mill Creek development just west of Geneva in unincorporated Kane County, observers say, was a feat encompassing different governmental bodies, environmental and drainage issues.

"If not for Kent Shodeen's commitment to Geneva, it would look very different today," Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said.

He praised Shodeen but noted, "He's a businessman first and foremost."

One Aurora city official described Shodeen as "hard-headed." He almost walked away from the downtown agreement several times, according to people familiar with the deal.

The deal finally was closed in January, when the city agreed to pay for the first round of cleanups on the site to make redevelopment financially possible.

The unknowns of the project remain substantial: Besides drafting a site plan, Shodeen will have to negotiate the relocation of an electrical substation with ComEd and railroad crossing rights with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Progress of actual work on the project is likely to be slow, despite the relatively quick approval from the city.



Work in progress


When it comes to Vantreese and his River Street Plaza development, city officials have been more cautious, even as the development itself has raced ahead.
Although his detailed plans for the site have been public since he bought the properties last summer, Vantreese did not reach an accord with the city until this month.

Formal City Council approval likely will come this week.

The measured response from the city — especially early on, when the approval process appeared to be stalled — rankled Vantreese, who has some $8 million in private capital tied up in the project and can't afford to move at a leisurely pace.

City officials, though, said they were not willing to rush into a partnership with someone whose development resume is relatively short.

The young investor is somewhat new to the game, having spent most of his career as the owner of a West Chicago manufacturing facility that makes high-tech industrial components. Before that, Vantreese had a brief run in professional auto racing that ended with a 1996 crash in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

In the last few years, he has built new companies specializing in environmental cleanups and the redevelopment of old industrial sites.

After completing deals in Chicago Heights, the Batavia resident turned his gaze to the Fox Valley.

Vantreese began forming his vision for the riverbank here more than a year ago, when he was working on an industrial redevelopment project on nearby Gale Street.

Now under construction, Vantreese's Bell-Gale Industrial Condominium Park served as his first effort in Aurora. The River Street Plaza project would be Vantreese's first residential project to be completed. His only other attempt at home construction was a similar riverfront condo project at the site of the D.R. Sperry factory in North Aurora.

In that case, Vantreese completed the environmental cleanup of the site but sold the property after becoming dissatisfied with the village government's efforts to help the project along.

Within weeks of Vantreese's canceling the deal, the Village Board fired then-Village Administrator Rob Nelis, largely because of his openly hostile relationship with Vantreese and other developers.

If his background and aggressiveness make municipal staffers nervous, Vantreese's colleagues in the business world say they see a pattern of willingness to take risks to get things done.

"My experience with him is that he has done what he said he would do," said David Faganel, a third-generation owner of Faganel Builders who has developed hundreds of homes in the Fox Valley.

Faganel has joined a variety of local businessmen in investing in the River Street Plaza project, illustrating their confidence in the development's viability.

"(Vantreese) has made a huge commitment," Faganel said. "He's out there moving faster than any other developer could."

- Staff writer Allecia Vermillion contributed to this story.

Transforming the Face of Downtown
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Old April 4th, 2010, 02:16 AM   #369
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Glenview Metra station development

Does anybody have any idea what is u/c next to the Glenview Metra station? There is a large brick structure that is pretty close to completion there, but it's not clear from the signs what exactly it will be.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 05:05 AM   #370
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I'm guessing what you saw was the new library that they broke ground on over a year ago.
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Old April 24th, 2010, 01:25 AM   #371
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http://www.journal-topics.com/dp/10/dp100423.1.html

‘Huge’ Development
Billion Dollar Plan To Rebuild O’Hare Lakes Includes High-Rises, Hotels, Walkway To Casino

By TODD WESSELL


...He, instead, continued to plan the redevelopment of his prime 50-acre parcel that’s situated on the north side of Devon Avenue, west of the Tri-State Tollway and literally just yards from Bluhm’s casino site.

On Wednesday, Kozonis unveiled details of his vision during a meeting with the Journal & Topics Newspapers in his O’Hare Lakes office. The plan, which could cost Kozonis as much as $1.5 billion, calls for the construction of eight to 10 high-rise buildings where restaurants, retail, banquet and office space would be located along with two or three hotels. The property would be connected to Midwest Gaming and Entertainment, LLC’s new casino on the east side of the tollway by an enclosed walkway that would span over I-294. Kozonis said he already has in place verbal letters of intent from some interested tenants and once the massive project is completed and fully operational, could bring in as much as $40 million in new revenue to city coffers---as much if not more than the new casino.

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Old April 28th, 2010, 02:01 AM   #372
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204 W Van Buren, Naperville
24 units

The underground parking is a nice treat but I don't understand why they didn't include retail on the corner.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 08:39 AM   #373
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I love both of those last two proposals hope they happen soon (if they didn't start the process already)
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Old May 19th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #374
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http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=381722

Schaumburg strip mall to be demolished

The small strip mall at the northwest corner of Schaumburg and Roselle roads in Schaumburg will be demolished Thursday to make way for a 14,000-square-foot commercial building with two upper floors of 12 apartments each.
---

Not the greatest architecture, but still. A suburban strip mall being demolished for more density? Whoa.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #375
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Originally Posted by spyguy View Post
Not the greatest architecture, but still. A suburban strip mall being demolished for more density? Whoa.
^ Yeah really. We need more of that in the city
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Old May 24th, 2010, 09:58 AM   #376
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The site of the proposal is in Schaumburg's historic downtown. There isn't much left of the historic downtown - before WWII, Schaumburg was just a crossroads with a few houses. Half of what WAS there was torn down for the respective widenings of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. There's still a small handful of older homes there, the vast majority now serving as professional offices, stores, or restaurants (one of them is Lou Malnati's!) But, envious of Palatine and Arlington Heights, Schaumburg has tried to define this area as its "center".

There's another fairly urban-looking townhouse development a block away, and the large power center strip mall has lots of beautiful public spaces included, as well as Schaumburg's large central library.

It's great to see Schaumburg building more of this stuff, but it's not out of character for a Chicago suburb to allow slightly more urban development in downtown areas... this isn't just some random intersection.

Of course, for a sprawlburb, Schaumburg is fairly progressive, thanks to Mayor Larson. It runs free trolleys connecting the major retail centers so that you only have to park once, which reduces congestion. It has an extensive bike path system and - already adequately served by expressways - is now leading the charge for the STAR Line/Blue Line to Woodfield, as well as a transit component in the Elgin-O'Hare project and numerous smaller improvements like Pace's planned Golf Road BRT.

Last edited by ardecila; May 24th, 2010 at 10:06 AM.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 10:42 PM   #377
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http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=384402

'Front porch revival' moves ahead in Libertyville
By Mick Zawislak


A dormant example of the economic downturn is being reworked into a "throwback" neighborhood that its developer says could bring national recognition to Libertyville.

Anchored by the former Central School, which will be converted to loft-style condos, and a menu of homes with big porches meant to evoke another era, the concept of New Urbanism is about to take root.

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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:04 AM   #378
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http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....ospect-in.html
June 21, 2010
Suburbia revised: Confronting shuttered shopping centers and empty big-boxes, developers try turning malls into Main Streets

With a central dome that resembled a flying saucer, the three-legged mall that opened in northwest suburban Mount Prospect in 1962 (left) looked like it had whirred down from outer space and landed in an old farm field at the corner of Elmhurst and Rand roads.

“Randhurst,” it was called in honor of its two main bordering streets, and it was a thing of wonder, the Chicago area's first enclosed shopping center. Shoppers flocked to the air-conditioned spaces beneath its futuristic dome.

But the future proved short-lived. Just forty years later, with shuttered anchor stores and shrinking traffic, the once-proud retail pioneer seemed well on its way to becoming a “dead mall.” Its useful life, however, was not over.

Today, in an act of radical design surgery, Randhurst is being remade into an open-air, mixed-use development that will have many features of a traditional downtown, including shops, movie theaters, offices and a hotel. The dome and core of the mall have been demolished, and next year a developer plans to open an old-fashioned Main Street lined with Prairie Style-influenced buildings in their place (above). There will even be angled parking spaces that promise to let you drive right up to a shop, though chances are you'll really be parking in a vast field of asphalt much farther away.

The revamped mall already has been given a quaint variation of its original name: Randhurst Village.

The catchphrase for this promising — and provocative — type of remake is “retrofitting suburbia.” From Cape Cod to California, its advocates aim not simply to remake dead malls, strip centers and big boxes, but to alter suburbia itself, making it more dense, more walkable, and sustainable — in short, more urban.

That is a tall order, and the credit crunch brought on by the recession has dramatically cut back on the funding available for such transformations. But the downturn appears to have paved the way for future retrofits, especially as towns search for ways to erase the blight of shuttered stores and recoup sales tax dollars they lost when once-thriving malls went slack (left, the long-shuttered Dixie Square Mall in south suburban Harvey).

“For the next five to 10 years, the future is going to be creatively retrofitting existing structures,” said James Conroy, director of Chicago-area development for Casto Lifestyle Properties, the Florida developer spearheading the $190 million remake of the mall.

Not surprisingly, given the history of malls killing off mom-and-pop stores and even-bigger malls stealing business from early shopping centers, the movement has stoked fears. In Mount Prospect, some merchants fret privately that the faux downtown at Randhurst will siphon off business from the town's real downtown (left), which sits about a mile to the south along Metra's Northwest line and is studded with new public buildings and residential midrises.

Others, like 17-year Mount Prospect resident Kevin Griebenow, welcome the change, though he fears the mall's new stores — long boxes that will be split into individual storefronts and sheathed with varied shades of brick — will create architectural blandness.

“My biggest concern is that it all comes off flat and monotonous,” said Griebenow, a dam inspector who doubles as a Chicago Architecture Foundation docent.

But he went on to explain why he is excited by the prospect of the mall's new Main Street. “Our downtown is just dissected and sliced and diced” by the Metra line, Illinois Highway 83 and Northwest Highway, Griebenow said. “There's really no nucleus — no place to stroll.”

.............It is significant that this drama is playing out in a mature, inner-ring suburb about 20 miles northwest of Chicago's Loop. As recession-battered subdivisions remain half-finished on the exurban fringe, they offer fewer customers to patronize new stores. That makes properties in inner-ring suburbs, where thousands of potential customers already live, more attractive. Mount Prospect's population is roughly 56,000.

“We don't need another person to move to Mount Prospect to make this work,” said Conroy, the development director at Randhurst.

The bigger backdrop for the drama is the overbuilding that has devastated the retail industry (at left, an empty furniture store in Chicago's far western suburbs in 2009).

The Chicago region is “phenomenally over-stored,” said Stan Nitzberg, a principal at Mid-America Real Estate Corp. in Oakbrook Terrace. It's the same story nationally. The vacancy rate for U.S. shopping centers, from strip malls to super-regional malls, stood at more than 11 percent in the first quarter of this year — the highest it's been since 1983, when data were first collected, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a New York City-based trade group.

But the upheaval could open the door to change. When Chicago-based General Growth Properties recently identified 13 malls it is likely to forfeit to lenders when it emerges from bankruptcy later this year, the announcement raised the prospect that opportunistic buyers could snap up the distressed properties and remake them along the lines of traditional Main Streets. There, stores face outward to the street rather than inward to a mall atrium, and businesses, stores and residences are interspersed.

“The recession has accelerated trends that already were in place,” said Ellen Dunham-Jones, professor of architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-author with the City College of New York's June Williamson of the Bible of the retrofitting movement — the 2009 book “Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs.”

As sketched by the Beame Architectural Partnership of Coral Gables, Fla., and 505 Design of Boulder, Colo., the Randhurst Village plans (above) offer a peek into what sort of future these trends might yield: An urban-suburban hybrid that combines elements of so-called lifestyle centers, which cluster upscale stores in pedestrian-friendly settings, and so-called power centers, which feature big-box stores fronted by acres of parking lots.

Big-boxes like the Home Depot will remain on the mall's fringe, while the Main Street at the mall's core will offer inviting outdoor spaces like a landscaped “Carson Court” outside the white box of Randhurst's remaining Carson Pirie Scott & Co. anchor store (left). Cleverly, with an eye toward selling, these spaces have been designed to encourage customers to linger rather than just rush in and out of one store, then back to their cars.

“I suspect that they'll have street fairs there, seasonal events, maybe outdoor concerts,” said David Galler, project manager for the architects. “Though it's not under one roof anymore, places like this become the equivalent of the village green.”

Perhaps, but some weaknesses already are apparent. Early plans from the developer called for 200 apartments to be built above the Main Street shops, which would have given restaurants and theaters a captive market and provided Randhurst Village with a round-the-clock vitality. But the apartments were eliminated because it was determined that they would be too costly to build and therefore too pricey to rent.

The mall's large parking lots will remain, even though they will be dolled up with more landscaping. And while there are plans for bike racks and the project is aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, most customers, even those who live nearby, are likely to drive to Randhurst Village, undercutting the possibility that the mall will cut down on driving and thus promote sustainability.

In addition, recently retrofitted buildings on Randhurst's fringe continue to turn their backs to adjoining neighborhoods, suggesting that the mall will fail to apply the street-friendly design of its Main Street to the areas around it.

Nevertheless, there is reason to think that the mall's imperfect version of urbanism will cultivate a desire for more of the real thing — and that Randhurst Village's faux downtown may be able to peacefully coexist with the real one a mile away.

“Will one hurt the other? I'm not sure it really has to,” said Tom Nelson, president of the Mount Prospect Downtown Merchants' Association and head of his own computer services store. If shoppers like the mix of stores and the Randhurst Village revamp proves an economic success, more sophisticated retrofits — and a more urbane version of suburbia — seem sure to follow.
I liked that they planned to have apartments above the stores. I don't like the prospects of it coming off well given that apartments will be axed. From the sound of it this will be more "Streets of Woodfield" then the "The Glen" in Glenview which even with its imperfections is about as good as new suburbia is likely to get.

By the way, has anyone read the book mentioned in the article "Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs"?

Quote:
http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....k-forest-.html

June 21, 2010
A mixed track record: Mall makeovers produce varied outcomes in two Chicago suburbs, Schaumburg and Park Forest

The dramatic makeover of the Randhurst shopping center in Mount Prospect is not the Chicago area’s first example of a suburban retrofit. Two previous examples, the Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg and downtown Park Forest in the south suburbs, reveal what to expect from the trend — for better and for worse.

At the Streets of Woodfield, just south of the larger Woodfield Mall along Interstate Highway 290, 25 miles northwest of Chicago’s Loop, old-fashioned facades with arched windows and peaked rooflines are plastered onto a long building and an adjoining parking garage. Outside restaurants and a busy Starbucks, people sit at umbrella-topped tables with a view of the highway and an adjoining parking lot.....................
..
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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #379
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http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/h...100818.article

Joliet gives JJC a green light
Community college plans downtown redevelopment
By BOB OKON August 18, 2010


Downtown Joliet would be a changed place if Joliet Junior College moves forward with its plans for a 10-story, modernistic building that would make room for hundreds of new students.


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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:48 PM   #380
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^ What a appears to be a pretty nice historic building would be demo'd for that project.
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