News - McHenry County

Cary village planners in talks to redevelop former senior center site

Developer has proposed three additional buildings, while village wants less crowded site plan

The historic building at 441 West Main Street in Cary was first built in 1888 and was used as a senior center until last year; the future of the site was discussed at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

The village of Cary is working on a development agreement with True North Properties to convert the village-owned site of the former Kraus Senior Center into a multi-building apartment complex.

The future of the building, which first was built in 1888 as a one-story school and was vacated at the end of last year, was discussed Tuesday at the latest Committee of the Whole meeting.

While the Board of Trustees and Mayor Mark Kownick responded enthusiastically to True North’s initial concept plan – Kownick called it “an unbelievable opportunity” – several trustees indicated they’d prefer to see less density and more open space on the parcel.

“We don’t want to see it too overbearing or crowded,” Trustee Kim Covelli said Tuesday. “This is about keeping the character of the neighborhood.”

The concept proposed by True North on Tuesday included 13 apartment units and three new buildings, as well as four small garages.

A rendering for a possible repurposing of the parcel at 441 West Main Street in Cary, which includes a historic school building over 120 years old; an initial concept by True North Properties, Inc., shown here, includes several small apartment buildings and garage units designed to match the original structure.

True North Properties President George Ieremciuc promised a “simple layout” for the rental units, with a lot of natural light and large windows, and said any new buildings would match closely in color and style to the existing building.

Ieremciuc said that in his experience, tenants prefer smaller apartment buildings, but he would consolidate the number of buildings in further iterations of the site plan.

The development also could be completed in phases, beginning with renovations to the existing building to create apartments, Ieremciuc said. That would help mitigate any issues with supply shortages.

True North Properties was the developer behind the conversion of Immanuel Lutheran Church and Faith Lutheran High School in Crystal Lake into apartments and also was chosen by the village of Huntley to redevelop the former Catty Corp. property.

The next step for the Cary project would be to finalize a development agreement, including the purchase and sale of the property to True North, Community Development Director Brian Simmons said.

Although there is no hard timeline for completing the agreement and submitting plans before the Planning and Zoning Commission, Simmons said he is hopeful the agreement will be finalized before the end of the year, and possibly as soon as this summer.

“We’re excited about this project,” Simmons said. “We think it’s a good reinvestment and repurposing of that building, and we’re glad it will continue to be a piece of the community moving forward.”