A vacant property near the heart of Huntley could soon be home to more than three dozen apartments if trustees opt to move forward with the redevelopment project next month.
If approved, it will mark the second development in the village’s downtown area this year.
The building, known as the Catty property, at 11117 S. Church St., could house 37 apartments once the project is completed. That will include 17 studio apartments, 16 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units, officials said.
Originally, plans called for five new buildings that would house 15 additional apartments, but those new buildings were withdrawn by the developer following a concept review in front of the village board in December, village officials said.
At that meeting, trustees raised a few concerns about the new buildings, and some asked if the project could be done either in phases or without the row homes altogether. Located near Mill Street, the 2.6-acre property sits just southeast of the Main Street and Route 47 intersection. Since acquiring it for $425,000 in 2017, the village has earmarked the property as a potential project for its downtown revitalization.
Village President Timothy Hoeft said he’s excited about the development because it will help expand parking downtown and allow the original building to be used.
“It’s another piece of the puzzle in the downtown area,” he said.
Once completed, the building’s proposed name will be The Cornell, which is named after the Cornell Brothers Milk Condensing Factory that used to be housed there. The property is expected to remain much of the same but will be painted white, officials said.
The proposal is on track to go in front of the village board for a final vote at its April 14 meeting, Village Manager David Johnson said. If approved, construction is expected to start this year, with residents moving in by 2023.
The purchase cost of the building is still being negotiated, Johnson said. He expects that number to be finalized in the coming weeks and made publicly known at the April 14 meeting. As it stands, the village is not expecting to put any of its own financial resources to assist the development, he said.
The building’s structure is not expected to change much, but Johnson said the exterior is in “dire need of attention.” The inside will be essentially gutted and reset too, allowing for the construction of apartments, he said.
“We anticipate significant demolition on the inside,” Johnson said.
Earlier in the month, the developer went in front of the village’s plan commission to ask for the property to be rezoned to allow for the project. Currently, it is zoned as a manufacturing space and would need to be rezoned to a multiple-family residential area.
In addition, the developer also will need a pair of special use permits, including one for the number of apartments. Several relief requests from the village code will also be needed, many of which involve setbacks. The plan commission at its March 14 meeting gave the first round of go-aheads for these variations.
The property will also be divided into two parts. One part will be the building, while the other will be a lot that will remain in the village’s possession for future parking development.
That parking development would be done in tandem with the building’s work, officials at the March 14 plan commission meeting said.
Joe Gottemoller, the developer’s attorney, said at the March 14 meeting they had no further changes to the project.
“I think staff has done a commendable job,” he said.
The property is one of many revitalization projects Huntley has been pursuing in recent months and years. Earlier this month, the village board gave the go-ahead on a former fire station downtown being converted into a mixed-use property that will have a restaurant and apartments. The Catty property will be the second project in this area for 2022.
Hoeft added that the project will open the door for possible future developments along Church Street if the downtown is expanded into that area.
Many of these projects, including the Catty property, are part of the village’s downtown revitalization efforts to increase the number of residents in the area. As part of that, the village has created a tax increment financing district, also called a TIF, in the area to incentive such projects.
A TIF is a financial tool used by governments to help fund various redevelopment projects by earmarking newly created property tax revenue within the district for redevelopment and improvement projects. This TIF district is set to expire in 2036.