Community Invited to celebrate Shimer Square’s redevelopment on May 28

Shimer Square’s redevelopment starting fall 2022

MOUNT CARROLL— Clear your schedule for May 28, if you want to see what’s happening with Shimer Square in Mount Carroll.

Economic Growth Corp., commonly known as GROWTH, will be kicking off Shimer Square’s first redevelopment phase 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28 during Mayfest.

During Mayfest, GROWTH staff will be on hand to share information on the redevelopment with the public.

Brian Hollenback, president and CEO of GROWTH, and Mayor Carl Bates will both be on hand to update the community on the redevelopment.

Construction will officially begin in the fall.

“This celebration acknowledges a culmination of many individuals’ tireless efforts over the last three years. Shimer Square’s development offers a fitting example of what a true community-based developer can do with local support,” said. Hollenback in a news release issued Thursday. “This first phase of Shimer Square’s redevelopment will re-energize the heart of this beloved campus. We appreciate the community’s continued support and are truly privileged to bring this historic campus back to life, one phase at a time.”

Bates said he is looking forward to the project.

“Today we commemorate the next great step in reconnecting Shimer Square to the heart of our community. Our beloved campus will now see investment and opportunities that will bring in new residents and businesses into our community. I have fully supported GROWTH and their efforts on this campus and am extremely excited to see the redevelopment plan being realized,” said Bates.

Shimer Square includes all of the former historic Shimer College, a 14-acre campus with a total of 17 buildings, mostly former residential halls and instructional buildings constructed between 1903 and 1975.

Shimer Square’s total development budget exceeds more than $60 million over a series of phases. Developers say the project will “transform the campus into several diverse uses including housing, entertainment, dining, fitness, business incubation, and artist and community space...all rolled up into one sustainable, diverse, inclusive, equitable historical community asset built for the future.”

The redevelopment will create 88 housing units and repurpose five of the available buildings. Additional housing, community, and commercial space for lease could be developed at a later date.

“Once GROWTH took title to the property in December 2018, our first commitment was to bring Mayfest back to the campus. It only makes sense that three years later, after one intervening pandemic, we come back to Mayfest to update the community on our good news, and to assure the same community that GROWTH is working hard behind the scenes to advance the shared plans that are starting to be realized for this historic campus,” the release said.

Before embarking on this effort, GROWTH reviewed all local, regional, and state plans and conferred with their authors to ensure Shimer Square aligned with relevant development initiatives.

“As a community-based development organization, GROWTH is known nationally for how to get the ‘hard deals done’,” the release said. “GROWTH first identifies its redevelopment strategy and then seeks the capital necessary to close on financing to start construction. Many times, this takes three or more years to accomplish and consists of multiple, complex layers of financing.

The release listed GROWTH’s record of collaboration: It was awarded Nonprofit of the Year by Northwest Illinois Economic Development in March 2020 for its Shimer Square redevelopment plan and it received one of five available tax credits from the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office. It was one of 11 projects designed by Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for a Rebuild Illinois grant. It also has been allocated affordable housing tax credits by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

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