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  • Megann Horstead

Officials reject plan for controversial Lincoln Station apartments


Village officials decided to not approve an extension of a special use for development of the controversial Lincoln Station apartments at their Aug. 14 regular meeting.

New Lenox Development Corporation representatives had sought a third extension for their development plan for the 208-unit complex near the Village’s Metra Station, but were shelved by trustees.

Officials had approved preliminary plans for the project in August 2015, at which point the board’s decision was valid for one year.

Meeting minutes show the matter drew concern from a number of residents at a July 2015 special meeting. A change to the development plan is what resulted thereby reducing the number of units from 312 to 208.

New Lenox Development Corporation was due to approach the Village in July 2016 to seek another approval for the project, however it received a six-month extension last August because they were working through issues with Army Corps of Engineers. At that point, it was the petitioners’ intent to develop the property and not sell it.

In February, officials wanted the New Lenox Development Corporation to report back with their findings.

Minutes from that particular meeting show that Mayor Tim Baldermann questioned if the petitioner is seeking to advance the project or if it is for marketing purposes.

New Lenox Development Corporation representative Richard Gammonley refuted the idea at the time and cited there were some changes in partnership of the development. At that point, another six-month extension was granted.

Mayor Tim Baldermann wanted the petitioners to approach the board again at their Aug. 14 meeting and requested that they speak.

“The reason I say that is last time when you were here, I specifically asked on-the-record because we had heard that this was being marketed,” he said. “I was told, ‘No, that is wasn’t going to be sold. The issue was solely the issue with the Army Corps [of Engineers,]’ and now there’s a different reason for looking for the extension.”

Grammonley said they informed the Village of their intent to sell or partner with another firm after a February meeting for “transparency” and added they are just days from choosing a partnership with one of two groups or selling the property to develop it.

To date, Village staff was provided with two letters of intent to help the petitioners in advancing the project.

Gammonley said they believe the development is the right fit for the Village of New Lenox.

Trustee David Smith said he will not support the extension of a special use, though the Village thought highly of the project.

“We got a lot of heat on it because of it,” he said. “It’s gone a lot longer than it should have. Because while you sit here and say, ‘It’s great project, and it’s worked in Elmhurst; it works here; it worked here; it worked there.’ I’ve watched them be built in Elmhurst, and I’ve watched [them] be built in Glenview, and I’ve watched them be built all over the suburbs of Chicago. The one place I haven’t watched it be built: New Lenox.”

Baldermann referenced both offers the Village had received and said one of them was not executed at all and the other was expired.

“Neither one of those—in my opinion—were valid,” he said.

Gammonley said they are in middle of negotiations regarding two offers and added they don’t like how long it is taking to bring the project on line.

“They were executed but by the purchasers,” he said. “[For the] seller, it has [been] unexecuted. One of those two offers [will be accepted] in the next five business days.”

After a motion failed to be seconded by the trustees, the vote died on the floor.

Trustee Annette Bowden said this was “disheartening.”

Baldermann said the board’s decision does not mean the project is dead.

With an extension denied, New Lenox Development Corporation, if they choose to do so, will need to approach the Village with another request for preliminary approval.

Plans for Silver Cross Hospital behavioral health campus OK’d

Village officials advanced Silver Cross Hospital’s plans to build a behavioral health campus and two related items.

Silver Cross Hospital is partnering with US HealthVest to build a 100-bed, 68,000-square-foot facility on the property located at the southwest corner of Silver Cross Boulevard and Pawlak Parkway. Construction is in the works already for the hospital’s new ambulatory surgical center.

Plans submitted by Silver Cross Hospital will conform to the Village’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinances.

Board action also approves a surety in the amount of $404,932.50 to ensure completion of related public improvements by August 2019 and a site plan review.

New brewery could be on tap for New Lenox

New Lenox officials took a preliminary look at a Village rule creating a Class D4 liquor license for a prospective new business.

Gary Meyer, of New Lenox, intends to open up a new craft beer establishment dubbed Hickory Creek Brewing Company at 1005 W. Laraway Rd., Unit 260.

Meyer said he has competed in a number of contests for brewers and added he likes to make everything.

“Our signature beer is an imperial porter, and everyone who has ever had it says that’s the one you got to have on tap all the time,” he said.

The license, if approved, will help Meyer put to use five 7-barrel fermenters and one 15-barrel fermenter.

“They’re all jacketed and temperature-controlled, so I can do lagers and ales,” Meyer said.

Meyer said he is hoping to be in business this fall.

The Class D4 liquor license is due for a second read at the Village Board’s Aug. 28 regular meeting. The request does not include a food component.

“The idea is to have a nice, relaxing place for people from New Lenox to come and have beer,” Meyer said.

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