SYCAMORE – Sycamore city officials approved an infrastructure agreement with a well-known local developer nearly two years after a fire destroyed a building of the St. Albans Green apartment complex and displaced more than 120 residents.
Sycamore Acting City Manager Maggie Peck said Jim Mason, who owns St. Albans Green, continues to seek city approval for next steps in his plan to rebuild the 40-unit complex into townhomes instead. As part of the proposed resolution, development plans include water main and roadway improvements, she said.
Peck said the agreement would have Mason install 320 linear feet of water main on the site that will be for the city’s public use. Mason also would be responsible for repaving south Main Street from the north property line of St. Albans to Lincoln Street, which will be disturbed because of water main construction, according to city documents.
“The water main must be completed prior to the issuance of certificates of occupancy for any unit to be constructed and redevelopment of St. Alban’s,” Peck said during the Monday meeting. “The road repairs are scheduled to be completed no later than November 1st, 2021, unless a different date is agreed upon by both parties.”
The Sycamore City Council voted, 6-0, to approve the agreement during their Monday meeting in downtown Sycamore. Aldermen had no additional discussions before the vote. Second Ward Alderman Pete Paulsen and Fourth Ward Alderman David Stouffer were absent from the meeting.
In the two years since the fire in late July 2019, Mason has appeared before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission several times to discuss concept plans and approval of a special use permit to build townhomes on the 2.48-acres at 711 S. Main St. in Sycamore.
The proposed resolution up for council approval Monday is the next step in that process, part of planned improvements on the property that will be made as part of reconstruction efforts.
In early March 2020, Mason appeared before the City Council, which approved an amended plan for the proposed townhome replacement project. The preliminary approval includes plans for 28 two-bedroom, single-story units instead of his original plan for 27 units with three-bedrooms each among two stories.
Following completion of the work outlined in the agreement, dedication and acceptance by the city, and delivery of lien waivers in compliance with the city of Sycamore’s Unified Development Code, the city will reimburse Mason for an amount not to exceed the city’s estimate of cost for the public-dedicated portion of the project, according to city documents.
“This city shall not be obligated to accept the water main improvements until all material improvements are completed and has met the satisfaction of our city engineer,” Peck said.
The water main that is installed will be municipally owned, according to the agreement, but will not include any services attached.
Mason said after the meeting the work will be performed in conjunction with other on-site work being performed as part of the redevelopment project. He confirmed the hope is for all infrastructure work to be completed this fall, to have one of the buildings’ walls up “before the snow flies” and for tenants to move into the new building by June 2022.
Mason said he’s going to take a newer auction-like approach with the “ultra high deluxe units,” as he called them, and having potential tenants bid for their rent. He said the thought was to start having interested tenants walk through the project as soon as it’s safe to do so construction-wise, which he’s hoping will be this coming November or December.
“This will be an opportunity for the community to see something different,” Mason said.
Katie Finlon covers local government and breaking news for DeKalb County in Illinois. She has covered local government news for Shaw Media since 2018 and has had bylines in Daily Chronicle, Kendall County Record newspapers, Northwest Herald and in public radio over the years.