Redevelopment of sports complex site in Libertyville in limbo without public hearings
Public review of a proposal for two industrial/warehouse buildings and possibly a gas station on portions of the Libertyville Sports Complex property is on hold.
More than a year after concepts to develop the property first surfaced, the village has received an official proposal from Midwest Industrial Funds Inc. for the property north of Peterson Road and east of Route 45.
That means a public hearing can proceed, but the process for now is stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A separate commercial development on the intersection's corner by 45 Peterson LLC also is under consideration, as is a village request to add parking on the north end of the main Sports Complex building.
"It's basically three different proposals, if you will," said John Spoden, Libertyville's community development director.
The largest part calls for industrial/warehouse buildings of 165,150 square feet and 168,980 square feet. At the southwest corner of the site, now occupied by Aloha Falls mini-golf, 45 Peterson LLC is considering a gas station as a potential use, Spoden said.
A public hearing on the proposal scheduled for March 27 was postponed.
"Right now, we don't have any public meetings scheduled, so I don't know yet when that will be heard or how it will be heard," said Heather Rowe, the village's economic development coordinator.
The plan is important to the village because it would remove expense-draining facilities from its portfolio and put them on the tax rolls, as well as create hundreds of jobs and generate $5.38 million from the property sale.
In fact, the 31 acres that comprise the Family Entertainment Center (leased as a mini-golf course) and Golf Learning Center (driving range) last month was named the village's top redevelopment priority among 11 possibilities in town.
The sports complex opened in 2002, but aside from the main building that's continuing operations, it has been a drain on village finances. The other two properties were declared surplus by the village and have been on the market for several years.
The industrial buildings are planned as build-to-suit speculative ventures, and developers want to get the approval process going, according to Rowe. Vacancy rates for those types of development in Lake County are low, she said.
"There's a pretty wide range of manufacturing, (research and development) or office type uses that can be considered in the industrial classification," she said.
Justin P. Fierz, principal at Midwest Industrial Funds, said the company is looking forward to getting the process started as soon as the village's ability to host public meetings returns.
"At this time we are unsure how the time delays will ultimately affect the project," he said.