Huntley’s 2018 village plans build off last year’s goals

One thing never changes in Huntley – and that’s the process of change.

Put another way, if you thought 2017 was a banner year for expansion in the Village of Huntley, wait until you see what’s coming in 2018.

Here is a state-of-the-village economic development report, after a Sun Day conversation last week with Charles Nordman, director of development services, and Margo Griffin, economic development manager.

First, the conversion of part of the former Huntley Outlet Center along I-90 will probably begin this spring. General RV, whose sales and service facility is immediately west of the former outlet property, will probably receive final approval for its project to expand into eight acres of the western side of the mall site, starting this spring, according to Nordman. The village continues to talk with the mall site’s multiple owners – the Prime Group, Capital Investment of Elgin, and Craig Group of Newport Beach, California, about the future of the rest of the 68-acre mall site.

Alden Properties is currently at work on their three-story, 110-bed nursing care facility and a 60-bed memory care building, set to open this spring at the corner of Regency Square and Princeton Drive. (Photo by Chris LaPelusa/Sun Day)

Alden Properties is currently at work on their three-story, 110-bed nursing care facility and a 60-bed memory care building, set to open this spring at the corner of Regency Square and Princeton Drive. (Photo by Chris LaPelusa/Sun Day)

Next, the village also is talking with residential and commercial developers about what to do with the historic Catty Building, along the Union Pacific railroad line next to downtown Huntley.

“We have received some interest by developers, but we are focused right now on making sure the building is clean, safe, and structurally sound,” Griffin said. “We expect to make some decisions with developer(s) this year.”

One setback occurred late last year when CVS Pharmacy canceled its application to build a retail store on the northwest corner of Kreutzer Road and Route 47, directly across the road from its biggest competitor, Walgreen’s. Shortly after this occurred, the property owner removed the vacant house from the site.

“It’s back to square one on this location,” Griffin said.

Turning again to the south end of the village, Huntley officials and Horizon Group Properties of Rosemont are still waiting for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers response to Horizon’s request to re-route Eakin Creek near the northwest corner of Route 47 and Dhamer Road. Horizon wants to build a shopping center anchored by a big box retailer on the west side of 47 immediately south of Neighborhoods 32A and B in Sun City. Horizon originally proposed this project to the village in late 2015.

Horizon wants to relocate Eakin Creek, which currently flows diagonally through this site, to run northward and parallel to Route 47, and then westward near the berm at the south edge of the two Sun City neighborhoods. Significant decisions on this proposal are expected this year. Several Sun City residents of the two neighborhoods have expressed opposition to this proposal.

The village’s Downtown Revitalization project will continue with the expansion of the American Legion Hall on Coral Street, construction of a BBQ King smokehouse restaurant next door, and another new facade in the village’s facade improvement program. Nordman said the village is talking with Laura Mraz, owner of LMM & Associates Inc., a tax and accounting firm whose building at 11017 N. Woodstock Street also includes the retail location of the Huntley Postoffice.

“We are working with village and federal officials regarding our section of the building, and the Post Office, and we hope to complete changes to both the inside and outside sections of our building this year,” Mraz said.

On the senior living and healthcare front, building expansions will continue throughout this year. Alden Properties opened its Huntley Horizon independent villas and senior living apartments at Regency Square and Princeton Drive this past fall. It plans to open its three-story, 110-bed nursing care facility and a 60-bed memory care building this spring. Plus, Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC), began construction last summer of a 130-unit Huntley Springs project at Powers Road and the east side of Route 47. This project offers resort-style living and entertainment and dining services but no healthcare facilities.

Moving back to the downtown area, Mike Skala, owner of Goodfella’s Beef at 10980 S. Route 47, and Scott Ravagnie, chief of the Huntley Fire Protection District, have reportedly had some discussions about a 17-acre multi-faceted project at Route 47 and Mill Street near the downtown square. According to a published report last fall, Skala, in a preliminary report to the village board, said the project might include residences, small retail establishments, and possibly a new downtown-area fire station. This is an idea only, and no tangible proposals have been submitted or publicized.

As reported in the Sun Day on December 14, new Huntley residents Chris and Barbara Lincoln plan to turn about 3 acres of a historic Huntley-area farm on the north edge of town into an event venue. The idea would provide the first-ever site for weddings, corporate meetings, family reunions, and other gatherings. They need a zoning code amendment to allow this, and then probably a year of reconstruction and remodeling of several former dairy barns and buildings.

Finally, significant expansion of Jewel Food Store facilities in Huntley is expected to begin this year. Jewel plans to build a second store at Route 47 and Reed Road at the north section of the village. The firm also plans to remodel the existing Jewel store at Village Green.

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