Woodstock to vote on initial Die Cast development plan on Tuesday

If approved, more votes would be needed to make plan final

The city of Woodstock recently heard three different proposals to revitalize the old Die Cast site in its downtown. The City Council discussed the proposals further at its Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, meeting.

Woodstock on Tuesday could take another step toward development of the Die Cast site, one month after the Plan Commission voiced concern for the current proposed project.

Woodstock’s City Council is set to vote Tuesday on a preliminary plan and special-use permit for the multi-part project that was first pitched last year. However, if approved, it won’t be the last vote needed for the project to move forward.

Called Union Place of Woodstock, the plan, which was proposed last year by Chicago Hubs Realty, calls for nearly 400 residential units, retail and commercial space at the city’s Die Cast site. The area is in the city’s downtown and sits on the west side of Clay Street and north of Church Street. It’s believed the plan could take about three years to complete.

The first of the project’s three phases calls for a five-story affordable senior living complex, which will be followed by assisted living and memory care. The last phase would include two multi-family apartment complex buildings that will be paired with retail and commercial space, and a parking garage.

Throughout the past several months, the plan has received support from the Woodstock City Council, but also has changed two of its members since the item was last considered.

That support though did not carry over to the city’s Plan Commission, which, at an April 20 meeting, voiced many concerns about the plan. They included parking, noise and safety. However, the Plan Commission’s vote was just a recommendation.

The criticism ultimately led to one commissioner saying he didn’t feel the project was a good fit for the city. Just one commissioner voted in favor of recommending the project.

To help alleviate some of the concerns, parking spaces for the development were increased from 415 to 510, according to city documents. A retaining wall also will be constructed along train tracks near the site to help with noise. New traffic information has also been provided.

A vote in favor Tuesday will mean final plans can begin to take form. And as individual lots for the project are proposed, Chicago Hubs Realty will need to go back to the Plan Commission and then to the City Council, according to city documents.

Having sat mostly vacant since the 1990s, the Die Cast site use to host a series of factories that made auto parts and typewriters. In the mid-2000s, a series of townhomes were proposed, and some were built. However, the plan fell through due to the 2008 recession.

In 2020, the city bought the 8-acre property and in November 2022 heard proposals from three suitors for a potential development. One of those was Chicago Hubs Realty.