Huntley officials hear development proposal for Catty property

Huntley has been trying to sell the property for several years for revitalization

A design concept proposed by True North Properties to the Village of Huntley

The Huntley Village Board heard a proposal on Thursday that would revitalize the former Catty property to create apartments at the location.

According to a plan submitted by True North Properties, a Wauconda property management company, 52 new apartments would be built at the location. This includes 37 apartments in the existing Catty building plus 15 new apartments in five new buildings the company plans to construct on the property.

The apartments would range in size from studio apartments to two-bedroom units.

“Yes, it needs to be worked and cleaned out,” said Joe Gottemoller, the attorney for the property’s proposed owner. “The other builders were put in front with the idea that we also need to soften that building.”

The village board did not vote on the proposal Thursday. Trustees expressed interest in the idea, but made several suggestions for changes, including on preserving the view of the Catty building from the street and making sure there is enough parking for new residents and visitors.

“I’m glad you’re saving the Catty building,” trustee Ronda Goldman said. “In a way, it disturbs me that the buildings in front are going to hide the view.”

True North has been in discussions to buy the Catty site from the village since September. The Village Board voted to move forward on discussions with True North after receiving bids during the summer from other developers.

The new buildings True North is proposing would have a modern design to complement the industrial look of the Catty building and warehouse on the property, according to village documents.

George Ieremciuc, the property’s potential owner, said he was willing to reduce the number of new apartment buildings down to four.

Huntley Village Administrator Dave Johnson said True North caught the village’s eye when the company chosen for the redevelopment of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake. He said the Catty property holds historical value for the village and he thinks True North would be able to successfully develop and preserve the property’s history.

“We were split on whether that building would even be able to be saved … if there’s a guy that can save it and make it look like something, it’s you,” Huntley Mayor Tim Hoeft said to Ieremciuc.

Some residents who live nearby expressed concern about the project.

“We have this building we want to save that’s over 100 years old, you’re gonna save the building, sure,” one resident said. “But building five buildings in front of it, isn’t that going to take way the view?”

Residents and trustees said the added congestion to the downtown area needs to be addressed before any apartments are built there. Others said they did not like the idea of constructing the new flats adjacent to the building either.

With more traffic and residents expected in the area, the village is considering extending the nearby municipal parking into a gravel lot next to the Catty property. However, the village estimates it would cost $2.85 million to relocate power lines and water mains in the area.

Hoeft suggested Ieremciuc hold a meeting with people who live nearby to gather feedback about what they’d like to see.

True North also is leaving open the possibility of eventually adding a train station on the property, according to village documents.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has been keeping the door open to extending Metra service to Rockford, Belvidere and Huntley from the Milwaukee District West line, which currently runs between Union Station in Chicago and Elgin. Discussions also have swirled for several years about adding Amtrak service through Huntley.

Zoning changes would still be needed before any plan at the site can go forward.