Thanks to an abundance of commercial and residential development over the last dozen or so years, the southwestern corner of Lake County has a strong economic engine that is firing on all cylinders. Bulldozers are gradually being replaced by shoppers and diners, and beautiful residences are sprouting up in place of corn stalks and soy beans.
In the Village of Deer Park, the Deer Park Town Center, which began all of the development in the area, continues to do well. Tenants are renewing leases and making improvements to their stores. Bike paths and sidewalks have also been improved and extended. In addition, festivals like a jazz fest, an art fest and Santa fireworks have been added to the calendar as a further draw to the center, according to Beth McAndrews, village administrator.
Since much of the open land along the west side of Rand Road in the Village of Deer Park has been developed, the village’s elected officials and staff members are now focusing on bringing in additional residents and businesspeople who will likely shop in its plentiful retail stores and eat in its delicious restaurants, McAndrews said.
The Crossings of Deer Park, a rental community on the southeast corner of the intersection of Deer Park Boulevard and Field Parkway features 44 rental townhouse units and 192 rental apartments with a pool, clubhouse, fitness center and even a dog park, is expected to begin renting soon.
In addition, The Solana, a very upscale senior living facility, is now approximately 50 percent occupied. It features 180 one- and two-bedroom assisted living and independent living apartments and is located at Lake-Cook Road and Hamilton Parkway.
The new Co-Optum co-op office building along Field Parkway near Deer Park Center is gradually filling, as well, bringing in workers from other communities who can shop in Deer Park stores and patronize local restaurants.
“We continue to focus our efforts on developing 75 plus acres along Rand Road. Deer Park is steadfast on furthering quality economic development that compliments and caters to a healthy, aesthetically pleasing, vibrant life for residents and visitors,” McAndrews said.
Just to the east in the Village of Kildeer, the 180,000-square-foot Kildeer Village Square shopping center along Rand Road between Whole Foods and Chick-Fil-A, is now open.
Tenants include Nordstrom Rack, Sierra Trading Company, Nike, Joseph A. Bank, DSW and Uncle Julio’s restaurant. Stores began to open in spring of 2017 and others including Art Van Furniture, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza, Café Zupa’s and Roti Mediterranean opened this past fall, according to Michael Talbett, Kildeer’s chief village officer.
The village now has four thriving shopping centers along its side of Rand Road – the Quentin Collection, Kildeer Marketplace, the Shops at Kildeer and Kildeer Village Square, Talbett said.
The only remaining acreage on the Kildeer side of Rand Road is a 62-acre parcel at Long Grove Road in unincorporated Lake County which will hopefully become incorporated into the village at some point in the future, he noted.
The Kemper Lake Golf Course will be the center of most of the activity in Kildeer during 2018. A major tournament, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, will be held there in June – the first major tournament since the PGA Tournament won by Payne Stewart in 1989, Talbett said. Security and traffic control will present a challenge to Kildeer so Talbett and the police chief recently attended the BMW Championship at Conway Farms to see how things were done there. Now they are starting to make their own plans for the Kemper event.
“This will truly be a regional event, so all of the communities in the Lake Zurich Area Chamber of Commerce will likely take part and benefit from the many visitors to the area,” he added.
In addition, an area inside the Kemper Lakes Golf Course is being developed by Taylor Morrison for new luxury homes. The Preserves, as it is called, will begin construction next spring and will feature 31 custom homes which will sell for $900,000 and up, Talbett said. “Construction work will be suspended during the week of the golf tournament so that the noise does not disturb the golfers.”
M/I Homes is also planning to develop land abutting Kemper Lakes. It will build move-down homes for empty-nesters on two parcels adjoining the Kemper property. A total of 97 such homes are planned.
Talbett is also pleased that Quentin Road will be widened to four lanes and both a dedicated bike path and a sidewalk for walking will be added, with construction starting sometime in 2018.
Hawthorn Woods is planning a downtown district, too, along a one-mile stretch of Midlothian Road between Old McHenry and Gilmer Roads near its aquatic center that draws hundreds of people every day during the summer. A market analysis of the project has been recently completed by AECOM and presented to the village board, according to Pam Newton, chief operating officer. ›
Hawthorn Woods will now turn its attention to making several potential sites in that area along Midlothian Road shovel-ready and planning the delivery of water and sewer service.
Eventually the village hopes to be able to tout a walk-able downtown with high-end commercial/retail/restaurant properties and diversified housing which will attract young professionals, families and empty nesters.
Most of the current development news in Hawthorn Woods, however, is residential in nature as the village seeks to diversify its housing stock from traditional one-acre lots.
“Now that we are bringing in more modern utilities, we can diversify our housing base,” she noted, “and bring in executive homes on smaller lots to welcome those residents who desire a Hawthorn Woods lifestyle with less yard maintenance.”
William Ryan Homes is building 60 homes at Stonebridge, a conservation-style community featuring clustered homes and 60 percent open space. In addition, Foxford Communities is constructing a mixed-use property on the northeast corner of Route 22 and Quentin Road. It features 37 high density “neo-traditional” single family homes arranged in a square grid urbanistic Main Street style, along with four commercial lots. Hawthorn Trails, as it will be known, is located across from Mariano’s.
Pulte Homes’ Hawthorn Hills community, which features 220 homes in four neighborhoods, is now 60 percent sold. The homes built there range in price from the $400,000s to the mid-$700,000s and feed into two different high school districts – Stevenson and Lake Zurich high schools.
The big news in Hawthorn Woods, however, has been the opening in late September of the new 11.88-acre Brierwoods Preserve at 28 Bruce Circle North. It features an overlook of a beautiful wetland, a walking trail, a butterfly habitat, a picnic area and a variety of trees, including many 100-year-old oaks, in an area adjacent to the Acorn Acres and Brierwood Estates subdivisions.
A portion of the land for this park was donated to the village in 1979 by a builder, but only a small piece of it was utilized as a neighborhood park. The village also purchased adjacent land to increase the total acres for Brierwood Preserve. This past spring, the village received a $20,000 grant from the CN EcoConnexions From the Ground Up program to establish an environment where monarch butterflies can feed and reproduce. It mandated that plants that produce nectar for food be planted, along with milkweed, which is where the butterflies prefer to lay their eggs.
The village added $30,000 of its own funds and partnered with CN’s “America in Bloom” organization to complete the program.
“While our staff was clearing out the buckthorn and other invasive species to make a trail, we found a treasure of natural resources,” Newton said. “We knew we needed to make this land accessible to the public and invite our residents to experience the beauty of the landscape that we had uncovered.”
So now Hawthorn Woods will share it with everyone. In fact, the quarter-mile trail, which follows an old deer path, has been made ADA compliant.
Lake Zurich is also percolating with activity throughout the village, according to Sarosh Saher, community development director.
For instance, the old Lake Zurich Lumber property at Old Rand Road and Route 22 may be replaced with a mixed-use development featuring up to 100 apartments above retail and restaurant spaces and on the north side of the lake, the 10-acre site formerly owned by Hackney’s restaurant may become a 125,000-square-foot, three-story Life Time Fitness facility with both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. A self-storage facility is also under construction at Buesching Road and Route 22 and a Murphy’s Express gas station, as well as a day care center, is currently being built at Sparrow Ridge Plaza just east of Deerpath Commons on Rand Road.
In addition, the former Omega Restaurant space on the northwest corner of Rand Road and Route 22 will soon be repurposed into a Shell gas station, owned by True North; five of approximately 18 acres at the southwest corner of Quentin and Route 22 may soon be transformed into as many as four retail structures, including a bank and gas station; and the vacant property at 525 N. Rand Rd. may be transformed into a 21,000-square-foot strip shopping center.
Several new restaurants have also come to town or relocated within the community this past year. Third Lake-based BBQ’d Productions has opened a restaurant at 405 N. Rand Rd.; JJ Twigs has re-opened a carry-out location within Lake Zurich Square, near the K-Mart property; the former White Alps Restaurant at 572 W. Main St. has become Molly’s Original Pancake House; Zin Gastropub has opened at Shoppes of Lake Zurich on the corner of Clover Hill Lane and Rand Road; and Franco’s Pescheria (formerly known as Diamond Fresh Seafood) and Roaring Table Brewery, a craft brewery, have established themselves within the Village Square Shopping Center on the southwest corner of Rand Road and Route 22.
Several industrial firms that call the village home have recently completed or announced expansion plans. They include Tuf-Tite drainage and septic products, Echo power tools, Bish Creative Display, Termax and Schaff Piano.
Residential construction is also underway. Garden Homes, the owner of the former Kmart property across from Paulus Park, is redeveloping the property with a mixed-use development containing 162 new apartments and 19,000 square feet of retail space. In addition, two 48-unit apartment buildings are being built by Foxford Communities at the corner of Old Rand Road and Main Street in downtown Lake Zurich, completing the Somerset on the Lake development.
Ryan Homes is also planning to build 36 townhouses in nine buildings which front on Route 22, just west of the Lake Zurich Lumber Company. The village also expects Central One LLC to build 24 single family homes south of Mariano’s near the corner of Route 22 and Quentin Road.
In addition, Pathways Senior Living opened Azpira Place, a senior living facility along Rand Road at the north end of the Village, last May.
Long Grove may be known best for its historic downtown, but recent economic growth involves much more than just that commercial area, according to Village President Bill Jacob.
Commercial development is in fact sprinkled throughout the entire community. The Sunset Grove shopping center at Route 83, just south of Aptakisic Road, includes the popular Sunset Foods, as well as a brand-new Starbucks and a CVS. A newly built Dunkin’ Donuts is at the intersection of Route 22 and Old McHenry Road, and the aptly named “Pub 83” has now opened at Route 83 and Gilmer Road.
Long Grove also boasts a busy Menards at Lake-Cook and Hicks Roads (Route 53), and “The Care of Trees,” formerly known as Hendricksen Tree Experts – a subsidiary of The Davey Tree Expert Company, has moved into the former Geimer’s Greenhouse site along Route 53. The business specializes in environmentally-sustaining tree care.
A new assisted living and memory care facility called “Arboria of Long Grove” was also built on a 10-acre parcel off of Route 53, Jacob said. It is locally owned, but managed by Life Care Services, a nationally-known senior living management firm.
Long Grove’s well-known historic downtown shopping area is also attracting new businesses, spurred in part by a number of infrastructure improvements and growth incentives the village has initiated. New openings last summer included Buffalo Creek Brewing Company, a craft beer business, and the Fred Astaire Dance Studio.
Other downtown area growth includes the Long Grove Confectionary’s relocation into two buildings it purchased across from the Village Tavern, while its former space has been taken by a competitor, Palatine-based Morkes Chocolates, which is new to Long Grove. The Covered Bridge Creamery ice cream and coffee shop also plans a downtown opening in the coming months.
With eyes on the future, Jacob noted that the village sold property located between the Enzo & Lucia Ristorante Italiano and the fire station to a developer that hopes to build spaces for additional restaurants.
“We have had lots of great activity, and the village is in the process of improving the downtown with new sidewalks and lights. Lake County is also installing a traffic light at the intersection of Old McHenry and Robert Parker Coffin Roads,” Jacob said. “In addition, we brought municipal water to the downtown before the construction of the Harbor Chase senior living at Route 83 and Old McHenry Road and extending to the Buffalo Creek Brewing Company. We now plan to extend municipal water to serve Long Grove Confectionary and the former Seasons Restaurant property.”
Beyond that, Long Grove is updating its comprehensive plan, which complements the economic incentive plan currently offered by the village to encourage growth and development in the downtown area. Three businesses have already taken advantage of the plan, which shares sales tax revenues and potentially TIF funds with businesses that make new investments and improvements in the near term.
“Economic development is key for us, but we want to maintain the right balance with the charm and openness Long Grove is known for. And, specifically we’re seeking sales tax generators, since we don’t levy a real estate tax for the village,” Jacob added.
Two new residential communities are also in the development pipeline. Together, they will add roughly 60 single family homes to the community. The communities are called Deer Trail and Karen’s Corner and will be located near the intersection of Old Hicks Road and Route 53.
North Barrington remains a small bedroom community with no new commercial or residential developments on the horizon, according to Kathy Nelander, village administrator/clerk.