Elk Grove Village buys gas station, shuttered Sweet Baby Ray's for $6 million
Elk Grove Village's board Tuesday approved purchases totaling more than $6 million for two properties along the Higgins Road corridor: the recently-closed Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue, and the Shell gas station at the gateway to town.
The $1,150,000 purchase of the barbecue restaurant at 800 E. Higgins Road, across from the Elk Grove Technology Park, follows its June 1 closure after 16 years in business. The original location at 249 E. Irving Park Road in Wood Dale remains in operation.
Co-owner Mike O'Brien told Elk Grove officials he wanted to retire.
Mayor Craig Johnson said he found out the property was for sale a year ago when his daughter was looking for a place to cater her wedding, and staff at the restaurant indicated they might not be in business for much longer.
Johnson said the restaurant building will be used for future redevelopment, but declined to give specifics.
"(We have) some ideas there, but again, we can't discuss it yet," Johnson said Tuesday night at the village board meeting. "I think you'll be very happy what happens there."
A closing is scheduled for Sept. 1, after a contingency period that will allow the village to inspect the property, which is being sold "as is."
Down the block, the $5 million purchase of the Shell on the southeast corner of Higgins and Arlington Heights roads now gives the village complete control of all properties within the Elk Grove Woods Plaza shopping center. It follows the village's $10.7 million purchase of the strip center, bank and Rose Garden Cafe, and $2 million purchase of Elk Grove Bowl last December.
Even though it was made with local owner Hafiz Yaqoob, the gas station deal took longer than the others because Shell corporate management in Houston first had to sign off, Johnson said.
Now the village can send out its long-planned request for proposals to developers for the entire corner. Preliminary plans call for an apartment building of 250 to 300 units and three to five stories, and a separate retail building, with the goal of keeping as many of the existing businesses as possible, officials say.
"We were holding off -- we couldn't say for the past several months why we held off -- but that's because we were trying to buy the Shell gas station," Johnson said. "It would make no sense for us to develop that whole corner and have that big corner taken out with the Shell gas station. It would make it difficult to do the project right. ... Now we've got the whole corner so we can do it right. We like to do things once, do it right, and move on."
A closing is set for Aug. 23, after a contingency period for property inspections. The gas station may be allowed to operate with the village as landlord until the pumps are disassembled and building is demolished next year, but that will be determined by the time of the closing, Johnson said.
The shuttered bowling alley -- now that the pins and all equipment have been removed -- is set for demolition in August or September.
After the request to developers is sent out this fall, officials hope the prospective new construction begins by next summer.