McHenry County Local News

East Dundee moves to buy shuttered Haeger Pottery building, a former lumberyard

East Dundee trustees this week backed the idea of buying the shuttered Haeger Pottery building on Maiden Lane and a former lumberyard on Railroad Street. They also agreed to use eminent domain if negotiations fail.

East Dundee trustees are moving toward purchasing two properties viewed as key to continued development in the downtown district.

Trustees on Monday backed purchasing the shuttered Haeger Pottery building on Maiden Lane and a former lumberyard on Railroad Street, in addition to approving the use of eminent domain, or a court-approved purchase of the property, if negotiations fail.

In a memo to trustees, Village Administrator Erika Storlie said the village only has 10 years left on a tax increment financing district that has helped bring about much of the recent development in the village’s downtown area.

The TIF district, created in 2008, helped lure new restaurants, including D.C. Cobb’s and Black & Grey Brewing Co. Officials said existing businesses, such as Made to Measure and Van’s Frozen Custard, used TIF funds to improve their properties.

“To finish the community vision of a historic, walkable downtown area, there are several existing parcels still in need of redevelopment,” Storlie wrote in her memo. “If the village does not acquire these parcels, they will likely remain in their current dilapidated condition for years or even decades to come.”

According to the memo, the village would use TIF monies to purchase the properties.

A TIF district freezes property taxes paid to local governments for 23 years. Typically, as redevelopment takes place, property values increase, and the additional property tax dollars go into a special fund to help the village pay for redevelopment costs. Purchasing blighted properties, such as the Haeger Pottery building, for future redevelopment is one way villages can use TIF monies.

According to village documents, the Haeger Pottery property was appraised at $500,000. Haeger Pottery closed its operations at 7 Maiden Lane in 2016 – 145 years after it opened. The property, located south of Route 72 in the downtown area, includes a 158,000-square-foot building on about 6½ acres.

Village officials have suggested the property could be redeveloped into a residential development that could include a riverfront park and possibly some retail spaces.

The lumberyard properties at 110 and 112 Railroad St. were appraised at $285,000 and $305,000, respectively. The properties include buildings and a gravel lot that the village currently rents for parking.

In her memo to trustees, Storlie said the village could convert the parking lot into an extension of Meier Street and provide angled parking, and the lumberyard buildings could be used for retail space.

Currently, there are no plans to redevelop either property.

In June, the village approved hiring a consultant to provide guidance on the best use of the remaining years of the downtown TIF district and whether a new, smaller TIF district could be created specifically for the Haeger Pottery building and other properties in the downtown district south of Route 72.