New plans in the works for downtown Fox River Grove redevelopment

Apartments, retail and restaurants part of Route 14 proposal

The sign outside of New China Restaurant reads "Thanks for 47 Years They Won" on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Fox River Grove.

A new developer is breathing life into Fox River Grove’s downtown redevelopment plans.

With previous plans stalled, the village has a new tentative plan for a section of downtown that it acquired via eminent domain.

The new plan calls for a five-story, mixed-use development with 151 residential units, 8,600 square feet of retail, two outdoor seating areas and parking in the downtown area along Route 14 between Lincoln Avenue and Illinois Street.

The Village Board recently approved a memorandum of understanding with Park Ridge-based Norwood Builders and Barrington-based Compasspoint Development for the project.

That basically means the village is committed to working with the developers on the project, Village Administrator Derek Soderholm said.

“This is one step in the direction of seeing the original vision for this block being developed,” he said. “Seeing it fully developed is the ultimate goal. We’re in the very early steps.”

The proposal still must be reviewed by the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission and likely will be presented at several public Village Board meetings later this summer, he said.

Soderholm said he would not make any predictions on when actual renovations could begin downtown.

Still, he said, efforts to redevelop the area are moving in the right direction.

The village last year had approved a memorandum of understanding with another developer, American Construction Services of West Bend, Wisconsin, but that project fell through.

“Things were getting shaken up in the economy at that time,” Soderholm said. “That particular developer wanted to basically push pause on the project and ultimately wasn’t really comfortable moving forward with the original concept given the current economic climate.”

In late 2022, the village hired a marketing firm to help redevelop the downtown area, and that resulted in the partnership with new developers, he said.

At the Village Board’s March meeting, representatives from Norwood Builders and Compasspointe spoke of a demand for apartments right now, especially for those ages 25 to 45 years old with or without families, according to meeting minutes.

The developers described a proposed outdoor dining concept that can be used year-round through the use of temporary coverings and lighting, similar to outdoor dining at Hugo’s Frog Bar in Naperville.

“Their goal is to build something unique to sell the outdoor experience and attract more retailers and foot traffic,” according to the meeting minutes.