Developers of a new apartment building in downtown Glen Ellyn will soon begin demolishing the former McChesney & Miller grocery store to pave the way for the $35 million residential project.
The McChesney parking lot was closed to the public on Monday to prepare the site for redevelopment. Holladay Properties expects to begin demolition work in mid-May.
The property company has embarked on a construction spree in suburban town centers, with construction of another apartment complex underway in Lombard. Holladay also plans to open Quincy Station, a new subdivision in Westmont, to the first residents in July. About 20% of the 94 units are rented to date.
“We continue to see a strong demand for empty nests, and they want to stay in their communities and downsize,” Holladay Vice President T. Drew Mitchell said.
In Glen Ellyn, the vacant McChesney store will be razed to make way for Glenwood Station, a five-story, 86-unit apartment building located on the northwest corner of Crescent Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue.
Building amenities will offer fiber optic internet, craft room, conference room, bicycle repair shop and electric vehicle charging stations. Developers are looking to attract young professionals who can work remotely and dump nesters wanting a low-maintenance lifestyle close to their roots.
“We’re seeing a real renaissance in suburban downtowns, with vibrant restaurants and retail services,” Mitchell said. “And so I think what’s happening is they’re not looking to move to a downtown condo now. They’re looking for opportunities to stay where they are.”
As Westmont’s Whiskey Hill Brewing Co. prepares to open a new restaurant and bar on the ground floor of Quincy Station, Holladay is marketing retail space at Glenwood Station. Developers expect apartment rents to be around $1,800 to $3,650.
But before starting construction, the developers will seek approval from the village council for some revisions to the project.
Holladay has amended plans for the lower level of an indoor parking garage, reducing the number of parking spaces by two, which will require a larger zoning variance than previously granted by council. This change is mainly related to the topography of the site and the expenses associated with soil retention, according to town planners.
The first floor of the development will still include nearly 1,500 square feet of retail space. Holladay now plans to blow up the upper floors on the north side of the development to add some lettable square footage.
The developers want to pull a nine-foot terrace on the second floor into the building to create more living space. Additionally, the balconies above will be removed and replaced with leasable square footage plus Juliette balconies as part of the revised plans.
“It allowed us to get a little more hands-on use of some of these units and create a little better layout of the units,” Mitchell said.
This does not require additional zoning relief, but is an amendment to the original proposal which requires approval from the Village Council.
Meanwhile, the scope of work for the demolition permit will be limited, according to village planners. This means that developers will be able to proceed with the demolition phase while seeking the additional zoning relief needed to construct buildings.
“It doesn’t disrupt the permissions process as these are considered minor development changes,” Mitchell said.
Holladay hopes to begin construction in August and ramp up marketing and leasing in March 2024.
Some units will meet a labor housing classification and will be available to people earning 80% to 120% of the area’s median income.
In addition, the village will reimburse the developer up to $250,000 over 10 years to provide up to two affordable housing units for households earning less than 80% of the region’s median income. Each year, the village will cover the difference between market and affordable housing rates.
Administrators added this provision in a redevelopment agreement that also provides for reimbursement to developers of up to $2 million using tax increase funding dollars.
In a TIF neighborhood, as redevelopment increases property values, additional tax revenue that would otherwise go to tax agencies such as schools and parks can be used to pay for improvements within its boundaries.
The small size of the lot – less than an acre – and the hilly topography made the property difficult to redevelop. Since its closure in 2014, McChesney’s grocery store has remained idle.
Developers are also on the “front line” of supply chain issues, Mitchell said. It was difficult to find cabinets, garage doors and even magnetic locks for unit doors.
“We have this really weird thing going on right now where interest rates and costs are going up, and so it’s very difficult to make projects work,” Mitchell said. “And we can’t be the only ones experiencing this. It needs to be ubiquitous in the development community.”
To address these issues, Holladay took delivery of the elevators and mailboxes “long before we normally do,” Mitchell said.
“We try to get all long-lead items on site as quickly as possible,” he said.
The project could take 18 to 24 months to build.