Demolition of downtown Fox River Grove block to start this month

Stretch of Route 14 will be turned into a grassy lot, still in need of a developer to build on the land

The Village of Fox River Grove has hired a marketing firm to help redevelop these building on U.S. Route 14 between Lincoln Avenue and Illinois Street in Fox River Grove.

A full block of empty buildings in downtown Fox River Grove will be demolished and turned into a grassy lot by the summer.

All of the buildings along a stretch of Route 14 from Lincoln Avenue to Illinois Street will start to be demolished within two to three weeks, Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said. Construction workers have started to fence off the area and should start asbestos remediation this week.

The village aims for a demolition completion date of June 15, according to village documents. No roads are expected to close during the demolition, Soderholm said.

The Village Board unanimously approved Omega III LLC bid to complete the demolition for $350,000 last month.

“We need to get this development done. Maybe I’m just jaded because I’ve been sitting up here for so many years talking about this and I’m sick of it.”

—  Trustee Steve Knar at a village meeting in February

Potential developers drafted a plan to create 150 apartment units with retail space. An exclusive agreement with those developers expired, so the village is open for other proposals, Village President Marc McLaughlin said at a Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce meeting in February.

“We’re actively seeking a developer to construct on the site,” Soderholm said. “We do not have any agreements locked in.”

While the village waits for developers to submit proposals, the block will be filled and turned into an empty grassy lot, Soderholm said. The village’s goal is to have a mixed-use development of apartments with retail, but the market will ultimately determine what will replace the block, he said.

“This is a step in the right direction to clear the site, something that ultimately had to be done anyway,” he said. “Probably will be a better look for the community given the current status of the buildings.”

In order to facilitate the development, the village spent $3.5 million to acquire nine parcels from five owners over three years. The village also created a tax increment financing, or TIF, district to help pay for redevelopment.

The board previously discussed marketing incentive packages for future developers in order to jumpstart construction on the block. Board members are open to cutting village fees like building permit costs and park fees.

“We need to get this development done,” Trustee Steve Knar said at a village meeting in February. “Maybe I’m just jaded because I’ve been sitting up here for so many years talking about this and I’m sick of it.”