Local News

99-unit apartment project gets go-ahead from Crystal Lake

Construction could start as early as the spring, city community development director says

A rendering of a proposed four-story apartment building, which would house 48 units at 95 E. Crystal Lake Ave. in Crystal Lake. The apartments would be part of a larger residential development that also includes nine townhome-style buildings, totaling 51 units.

A new 99-unit multi-family development project is one step closer to coming to downtown Crystal Lake after receiving preliminary approval from the City Council.

The project, proposed by developers Hamilton Partners and Harlem Irving Companies, is the latest in a series of residential developments to be proposed for the former Hines Lumber property at the corner of Crystal Lake Avenue and Main Street.

After the council’s unanimous decision Tuesday, the developers now will need to bring back a final planned unit development that includes landscaping and other changes requested by city officials. That plan would need to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and then the City Council.

The changes being sought include adding stamped concrete or pavers to complement the downtown character, finding a replacement for the proposed fountain in the complex such as some sculptures, and incorporating bicycle parking.

Once the developers have the final thumbs-up from the city, they can apply for building permits. Construction could begin as early as this spring, Community Development Director Katie Cowlin said.

The project as proposed includes 99 units across 10 buildings, including one four-story apartment building with 48 units and nine townhome-style buildings totaling 51 units, according to council documents. The townhomes would be three stories high.

A rendering of the townhome-style buildings proposed for the residential development at 95 E. Crystal Lake Ave. in Crystal Lake. The project would include 51 townhomes over nine buildings plus 48 apartments in 10th.

A parking garage would be built for the townhomes, according to the documents. Residents in apartments would have surface parking available.

The mix of the buildings is expected to give the builders more flexibility and give residents a chance to enjoy some of the different outdoor spaces around the complex, including plazas, outdoor seating areas and a dog park, the city of Crystal Lake said in a news release Friday.

The site previously was approved for a mixed-use development with 170 condominium units and 14,248 square feet of commercial space back in 2006, but the Great Recession prevented the project from moving forward.

Then, in 2016 and in 2020, separate conceptual plans also for mixed-use developments were proposed. However, in both cases the projects’ developers changed their minds, city staff said last year.

Council members said Tuesday that they hope the development will attract younger people to downtown Crystal Lake and McHenry County as a whole.

“Hamilton Partners is excited about the opportunity to bring a development to downtown Crystal Lake,” founding partner Tim Beechick said in a statement. “Having a vibrant downtown is the main amenity for the future residents of this development. You cannot ask for anything better.”