News - McHenry County

Woodstock now has three suitors eyeing empty Die Cast site

City Council approved two new resolutions that could represent early stage of potential agreement

Woodstock continues to lay groundwork for developments at the old Die Cast site downtown, approving what amounts to a preview of two redevelopment agreements.

Investment groups from Utah and Wisconsin have expressed interest in developing the area. The city council opted Tuesday to move forward with two “inducement resolutions,” allowing developers to track expenses and analyze the site.

The resolutions are the second and third currently for the site, with the first having been approved back in 2020 for a 116-unit apartment project, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said.

While the resolutions are first steps in developing the site, they don’t yet amount to any formal agreement, city documents state. That would come at a later time.

“For years we’ve been looking at somebody coming into the Die Cast site,” Council member Gordie Tebo said during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s been stragglers, but now we actually have three people that are looking at it. That’s pretty neat.”

The agreement shows the developer that the city could be interested, Anderson said.

“We just want to show a little bit of confidence that we know someone’s working on this,” Anderson said Thursday. “In simple terms, it starts the clock.”

The resolutions do not guarantee reimbursement, Anderson said. Though if something larger develops, the costs associated with this early stage could be paid back eventually.

“There’s a lot of people interested in this area,” Anderson said.

Though nothing has come from that original 2020 agreement yet, Anderson said that developer is still talking with the city. In the past year-and-a-half, the developer has run into supply-chain issues, delaying any project.

There’s also enough land in the space that more than one of the developers could build on the site, Anderson said. Though nothing is concrete. At this point, it’s not even known what the two developers from Tuesday might build.

“For now we’re just going to continue to develop plans, evaluate the site,” he said. “We’ll work toward getting some formal proposals on the table.”

The Illinois Auto-Lite auto parts factory site where 1,500 people once worked making parts was shut down in the 1990s and demolished 25 years ago. In the following decades a large development, titled Woodstock Station, was planned. However, after the 2008 recession, the operation stalled after only 10 townhome units had been built.

The city opted in 2020 to buy the site, totaling more than 8 acres.

Work in that part of downtown could be busy over the next few years. In addition to these three developers, Mayor Mike Turner has expressed interest in building a city pavilion in the area.