News - McHenry County

Woodstock lines up another potential developer for old lumber yard in downtown

MBI Staffing, which has partnered with city in past, could develop the spot

Woodstock City Hall as pictured March 3, 2022.

Another development could be coming to downtown Woodstock.

City Council members approved an inducement resolution at their meeting Tuesday, which amounts to a preview development agreement.

The resolution between the city and Woodstock-based MBI Staffing could see work take place at the downtown Lumber Yard site at 200 E. Judd St., according to city documents.

There are no details yet on what kind of development it could be, as no specific proposal has been made, documents show. However, the spot, a little more than 1 acre, has been purchased by MBI, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson said. The sale was finalized July 26.

While the resolution does not mean a development is guaranteed, Anderson said it shows the city could be interested in developing something more formal down the road.

“The developers have expressed interest to city staff, and the improvements discussed seem to fit well with the existing neighborhood,” city documents show.

MBI COO Kevin Newton said the company is starting up discussions on what they could develop at the site, saying that the project is still in its infancy. Early plans that are settled call for the spot to be demolished, he said. Pending city approval, he expects the site to be leveled in mid-September. After that, they want to be thorough in exploring options.

“It’s a pretty rough spot,” Newton said.

The area in question is part of a tax increment financing district, or TIF. As a result, the developer could be reimbursed for some of the development if it were to take place. The resolution from Tuesday allows MBI to begin tracking expenses that could be reimbursed later.

A TIF is a financial tool used by governments to help fund various redevelopment projects by earmarking newly created property tax revenue within the district for redevelopment and improvement projects.

The TIF in question was approved in 2019, Anderson said.

Before work can begin, an analysis of the site, including its traffic, environment and residential and retail feasibility, will need to occur, according to city documents.

MBI is the first potential business looking to develop something at the spot in the past couple of years, Anderson said. Pancor Construction has in the past considered it, but decided instead to work toward developing something at the city’s old Die Cast site.

Tuesday’s inducement resolution comes after two other ones were approved at the city’s July 19 meeting for the city’s former Die Cast site downtown. With those resolutions, three potential developers have now expressed interest in the Die Cast site.

The Die Cast site sits close to both the city’s Metra station and the Lumber Yard, meaning if these agreements move forward at some point, the downtown area could be host to a lot of development in the coming years.

Both sites also are next to an area that has been proposed by Mayor Michael Turner for a new city pavilion.

This isn’t the first agreement MBI, a staffing company focused on information technology services, has had with the city, Anderson said. The company has done charity work throughout town through its MBI Cares community program. Adding to that connection, MBI Cares is set to lease its office through the city at the downtown train station.

“I think they’re just a local company interested in investing in Woodstock,” Anderson said.

Newton said this is the first time MBI has undertaken a project like this. While the company has renovated various sites its worked out of, such as its current office that used to House Woodstock Community Unit School District 200, the company has never worked toward a development project of this scale.

“We want what’s best for the spot not only for the city, but for us, as well,” Newton said.