A five-story, 100-unit apartment building is under construction in downtown Fox River Grove as part of a larger plan to develop the area with more residents, businesses and possibly a hotel.
A residential structure of this scale has never been seen in the village before, said village administrator Derek Soderholm.
But while village officials say this new development will bring new residents to Fox River Grove, resulting in additional sales tax revenue and new businesses, neighbors on Concord Avenue behind the proposed apartments have a number of concerns.
The building is part of a sprawling redevelopment proposal that spans approximately 46 acres on both sides of Highway 14 near the Fox River. The overall proposal includes two additional apartment buildings with 200 additional units, shops across Route 14 and possibly a possible hotel and convention center.
The first phase, which includes the three apartment buildings, totaling 300 units, was approved in 2015 by the village council and a redevelopment agreement that would allow developers to recoup some of their costs using increased funding. The district tax, or TIF, in dollars was approved in 2017.
Work was on track to start in fall 2017, but the project stalled as developers scrambled to secure funding.
Grove Residences LLC purchased the parcel at 401 Algonquin Road in 2021, according to McHenry County records. A demolition permit was issued in August. In November, a permit allowing the construction of footings for the building and foundation walls – but nothing else – was approved, Soderholm said.
The plan is for two floors of indoor garage in the basement and five floors of apartments, each floor with 20 units. Once the drawing, engineering, landscape and architectural plans are finalized, developers can proceed to apply for a full building permit.
But, said Soderholm, “we’re not there yet.”
“The stormwater aspects and everything are still under review,” Soderholm said.
Grove Residences LLC plans to submit its final plans to the village for review “very soon,” within a month or two so that work can begin in the spring, said Kirk Rustman, a representative for the development company. Construction of the first apartment building would take around a year, meaning residents could move in by the end of 2022.
The goal is to move immediately to the following phases, including a retail part on Route 14 that is already being considered, Rustman said. The company is in talks with three possible tenants, all restaurants, who could be publicly named as early as the fall.
The village has approved the zoning and special use permits needed only for apartment buildings, Soderholm said, which means any further development will have to go through the village zoning process with public hearings before the council of the village and the planning and zoning commission.
This level of development can mean a “total revitalization” of downtown Fox River Grove, Rustman said. Transit-oriented development in other communities along Metra’s suburban lines has been successful in attracting residents and developing retail and commercial businesses, he added.
Residents along Concord Avenue, after watching the demolition of the site, had several concerns, which Dan Palmer, who lives a few yards from the Grove Residences property, detailed in a letter to the village on December 19. Nine other residents also signed the letter.
One of the main grievances of neighbors is what they see as a lack of privacy due to the development’s proximity to the neighborhood’s land boundaries.
A “massive influx” of residences, once Grove Residences opens, is another problem, neighbors said. A fence or security barrier is “essential” to preserving a sense of safety and security in the neighborhood, they said.
“It was always clear that the privacy of the neighborhood would be removed upon the completion of the Grove Residences building, but no one could have imagined it would be to that extent,” the letter said. “Several neighborhood owners have had trees cut down between properties, leaving no privacy behind. What was once a quiet street with private gardens is now preparing to welcome over 300 to 400 new neighbors looking out into their backyards. “
Neighbors on Concord Avenue have made three requests: a security fence that spans the entire southern edge of Grove Residence’s property line, which is no less than 15 feet, and is concrete and in nature. permanent; a retaining wall; and the planting of mature trees along the southern property line of the Grove Residences site.
The proposed apartment building will have a negative impact on the neighborhood, Palmer told the Northwest Herald.
“Everyone’s going to just look right into my kitchen and my backyard,” Palmer said. “There is no more privacy.”
The village is working with Grove Residence to install a private-style fence, Solderholm told the North West Herald.
“Nothing finalized at this point, but the intention is that there is some sort of fence between the property at the back,” Soderholm said.
There will also be trees planted at the rear of the building, likely along the length of the building over the fencing area, he said.
Rustman said he told the neighbors that Grove Residence wanted to be a good neighbor and have a good relationship with them. The company is working on landscaping plans and plans to replace the pre-existing fence with a 6-foot-high fence, the maximum allowed by the village decree.
The development as proposed meets the setback and zoning requirements approved by the village council, but officials are taking neighbors’ concerns into consideration and working to alleviate them, Soderholm said.
“We just want to make sure everything is set and done correctly, not just let them do what they want to do,” said William Strohl, who lives and helps his father, Mike Strohl, take care of Bettendorf Castle. at 418. Concord Ave. “The building is so big and it’s fair, it’s so high that you won’t have all the privacy you need.”
Soderholm said village staff will answer residents’ questions and provide necessary information and documents if they have them.