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Another Setback for Riverside Plaza

The developer tells Algonquin trustees at the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday there is no market for condominium sales.

The long-stalled Riverside Plaza project now faces another setback. 

John Breugelmans, the developer of Riverside Plaza, told Algonquin trustees during a Tuesday Committee of the Whole meeting he needs to convert the building in the downtown district from condominiums to apartments in order to make the project economically feasible.

Following a two-hour heated discussion, most trustees reluctantly said they would be willing to compromise somewhat on the project. However, they want the complex to adhere to its original luxury status and stay at 54 units. 

Breugelmans must now bring his revised plans before the village planning and zoning committee before the village board revisits his request.

Apartments Versus Condos: Board Spars Over Proposal

Breugelmans, who bought the uncompleted brick building at the corner of routes 31 and 62 in March 2011, said Tuesday financial institutions are not interested in extending construction loans for condominium projects.

"There is nobody in this whole world willing to lend money for a condominium project," Breugelmans said.

However, banks are willing to consider a rental project, a much safer investment, he said.

Since August 2011, the developer has only sold four condominiums in the building. Two of the sales are contingent upon the buyers selling their current houses, Breugelmans said.

The developer told trustees he would like to redesign the interior of the building to accommodate 69 apartments.

About 50 percent of those units would be one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments. Eighteen units would have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Another 18 would be two bedrooms plus a den. Six units would be one-bedroom, one-den apartments, according to Breugelmans' revised plans.

The proposed apartments would range from 745 to 1,406 square feet.

Breugelmans hired Tracy Cross & Associates, a real estate market analysis firm in Schaumburg, to conduct a market evaluation of home and condo sales in the Chicago suburban market.

Between 2003 to 2006, about 2,300 condominiums were sold annually in suburban Chicago, G. Tracy Cross told trustees Tuesday. 

"In 2012, the (same) market is on track to sell 46 condominiums for the year," Cross said. "There is no market for condos, none."

But trustees said they could not support expanding the plans from its original 54 units. They also worried the project would not be of the quality it was originally intended.

“This is definitely a downgrade from high-end condos,” Village President John Schmitt said.

“We originally went for this project as a high-end condo building to attract a certain demographic to our downtown. How are you going to fill (apartments) with the same demographic? That’s the only way you’re going to get my approval for this plan.”

Trustees Debby Sisone and John Spella were against the proposal. Sosine said she is tired of the constant changes and compromises the village has made in relation to the building. 


“I’m voting against this,” Sosine said. “I’m not for apartments in the downtown. We’ve done nothing but make concessions, concessions, concessions. You never meet your deadlines. We’ve spent thousands of dollars on improving the sidewalks so people can walk down there. Forgive me, but I find the integrity of what you’ve said to be non-existent.”

David Parrish May 24, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Turn it into a food court for all that foot traffic you have downtown and the extreme hustle/bustle on Rts 31 and 62. You could pick up the overflow clientele from Port Edwards! Yeah, that's the ticket! WRONG!!!!
Bob May 24, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Tear it down, and build a restaurant and a bar. We need a constitutional amendment to prohibit eminent domain being used to redevelop property. It was wrong in New London, and it's wrong in Algonquin.
Luka Brat Z May 24, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Why cant we have a nice downtown? With nice restaurants and fancy stores? It's time to upgrade!
Jamie Vossel May 24, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Apartments would be nice - since there aren't any nice complexes for apartment living people in Algonquin - really there's nothing to choose from as far as apatrment complexes go in Algonquin. My total vote would go for knocking the entire building down and having our historical view back!!! What an eye sore this building is.... and has been for a few years now! Take the loss and concentrate on the bypass - one thing at a time - too many messes going on at once is driving everyone away from Algonquin rather than attracting them here!! Plus, the intersection is absolutely horrible! We do everything we can to avoid it at all times!!!
joanne May 24, 2012 at 02:34 PM
people are renting more and more today, rental residences are in need. The building looks great and the indoor parking is awesome. I can see people renting that are transferred from companies like Sears. Big companies are not buying the executives the homes anymore. This is a high end building. Do you really think there would be riff raff ?? very doubtful. This would bring a lot of people to the downtown area and would generate a lot of income for all.
Debbie M May 24, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I'm with the contingent that believes this building should never have been built. There has been a negative impact on the small town appearance and esthetics of that already very crowded location. Why would anyone have approved a developement that added traffic and further congestion to the busiest intersection in McHenry County? How about another park to give commuters something soothing to look at while sitting in traffic? Village of Algonquin, tear down this building! Debbie M.
joanne May 24, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I personally would love to rent there.I am a young professional that travels a lot, and not really knowing where the future takes me with my living residence. I could see boating all day, and walking to a restaurant for dinner and even stopping for a martini. Sweet
jeffrey May 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I think rentals would be nice . My mom and dad are getting foreclosed on and will need to rent for a few years. We live in algonquin and would love to have them live by us. It would be great for them to walk to restaurants . And know they are safe in an upscale building. No brainer for us ... Go rental . You could always change to condo when times get better .
David Parrish May 24, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Jeffrey! Sorry about your mom and dad. I just moved into The Residences, behind the Walgreens at Randall and Algonquin, in Lake In The Hills. It's a brand new, 55 and older complex with 92 units. Not assisted living! Very nice complex and the rent is most reasonable. I suggest you check it out. I live here and love it. Close to everything! And walking distance to many things! Just FYI
Luka Brat Z May 24, 2012 at 05:45 PM
No way in hell would anyone have approved this thing if it was apartments! Rentals always start out nice and new and then give it 10 years and it'll get be a dump. No rentals in Algonqiun? R you joking? Try looking out ur window! With all of the people trapped in their homes and condos, people are dieing to rent their homes, but NOT @the 31 and 62. Look what happened to Silverstone Lakes on on Rt. 25 (technically Cville, but Alg for all extensive purposes)- it was once full of young professionals and now the forces of Cville have recliamed it. The village should eat crow on this one and finance it themselves. Raise our water tax a nickel and just do take the damn thing over already. Downtown has always been underwhelming; Mediocre is not an option! Go Big or knock it down.
Jessica May 24, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I totally diagree with tearing this building down. There is a lot of money sitting there. I also feel it is an attractive looking building. It needs to be completed sooner than later. With the times of bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, the real estate market has been suffering and it may take another five years to recover. Therefore, the perfect solution in todays troubled times is rentals. Look at Arlington Hieghts, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, multiple condo buildings have gone to rentals and are very successful for the developers and the communities. Ultimately the renters may convert to buyers.
Luka Brat Z May 24, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Those towns always have problems with there apt buildings and usually a firm come in and has to completely rennovate these dumps and gentrify them. They are a blight on the town......nothing desirable about it. This aint Fox Lake or Round Lake or Wondertucky. Our village will be praised or ridiculed based on this buliding. Like it or not, this is a showcase piece of property. We've wiated this long for a nice downtown; Im prepared to wait a bit longer. No Apartments!
Luka Brat Z May 24, 2012 at 07:21 PM
What message does this send to future developers? "Come on in and stick it to us whatever way you like. Our words dont mean anything. What's that? You're going to bulid a trailer park. Well, um, that's not what we agreed upon, but since you don't have the money, just build whatever the frig you want" Nice business model ALG. What's next at village hall...banjo lessons?
H May 24, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Those towns . .? Park Ridge,Arlington Hieghts....trouble with apartments .? Have you actually been to downtown Arlington Hieghts, It's beautiful, and rental buildings all over downtown..You sound like you have some problems with carpentersville and wonder lake ? Really not sure what you are talking about ? No rentals in Algonquin ? There all over the town of Algonquin. Let the guy finish the building it will be great for the downtown district, why so negative
H May 24, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Seriously where do you think you live ? Highland park ? Yah rentals there as well. YOU live in Algonquin. Look around. , get used to it
Luka Brat Z May 25, 2012 at 03:32 AM
We have a downtown on a river. If it was well planned and well thought out, we could have a really cool downtown/river walk type situation with affluent stores, restaurants, and bars. The powers that be agreed to this monstrosity of a building with this in mind. How about some foresight? And we're talking about 1 bedroom apartments! Just make it a motel already....Algonquin has the population, funds, and desire to support a downtown we can be proud of, not another Randall Road with a bunch of crappy chain stores. Do whatever, all the fan fair and hoopla and court and eyesore, and all we're getting is a fancy college dorm building? Sweet. Sounds great! Wish ALG would have a backbone on this.
Jessica May 25, 2012 at 04:11 AM
I am thrilled to have all of Randall Road's restaurants, speciality shops, Walmart, etc.doctors, lawyers and indian chiefs available to me...this could not have been done in downtown Algonquin....Rt 31??? I don't think so! Therefore, what is anyone's complaint regarding the controversy of apartments in downtown quaint Algonquin Village close to the river and the wonderful shops and restaurants????
ann May 25, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Seriously, Algonquin needs to get with the times!! There is nothing wrong with Apartments in Algonquin. This town is so out of touch and it really shows. If you go to downtown Palatine, Arlington Heights, Des Planes, My Prospect, etc you will see beautiful buildings that rent. It is time to update this town with attractive buildings. Everything looks so run down and awful. They also need to improve the east side of town and not just focus on the west side. I suggest some lighting, landscaping and etc. I believe This would only improve the value of the downtown area. It is to bad that everybody shops and eats on Randall Rd and gives there business to Corporate companies . I would love to see more shopping/things to do in the downtown area. I suggest the village officials get in there car and drive through other towns like Hinsdale, Geneva, Naperville, Palatine, etc to see what towns should look like.
H May 25, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Totally agree ! Great point , Wake up people. And what are they doing about the shacks across the street ! Dry cleaners, old car lot, etc. it looks like crap, What has the village done for the downtown area in the past 15 years ? Put in a 2 million dollar park . The whole downtown needs to be revamped, check out Geneva , St. Charles , other towns along the river . They get it , it's not like the village doesn't have the money. Every cop car is brand new and the fire chief drives around in a 50 thousand dollar Tahoe with leather seats . Nice for him. The village board needs to get out and do something. Bruce Hawkins is the only guy that has done anything for the down town area . To bad he got caught up in this recession. He had a great vision.
Cory krich May 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Ok! What is going to happen when we have more traffic? I will die laughing when that person can't even get into there so called drive! this is not arlington heights or whatever this was a town that i grew up in for 47 years! it is disgusting! to think that people think they r going to stroll down algonquin! you can't even get there to park wake up! and yes I have seen this town grow but. i am sick of my road to be used as a Bypass to get around Algonquin! and I have seen plenty of deaths and accidents just trying to avoid it! Seriously!! You wake up!! and I will make sure this is not another Schamberg! if u like it Go live there!!!!!
Earthling July 02, 2012 at 06:31 PM
What gets me is the people in power at the time tore down so much of historical downtown for the turn lane and essentially destroyed the charm of downtown Algonquin (c'mon, who really thought that turning lane would solve the traffic problem?). We don't need upscale shopping, overpriced restaurants or posh living quarters here (people can go to Schaumburg if that's what they're looking for). We need locations that bring out the heart and soul of our area. I say make it section 8 housing (at least it won't be lala land then) and get a new government that actually acts on the best interests of the people they're supposed to serve. We can restore the inviting atmosphere our town used to have if and when we have people in power who actually care about doing so.
Ed Sapeta July 02, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Finally, a voice or reason in a sea of fools. I agree with you Joanne. What are these people thinking. It's a great location and the building upgrades the look of the entire downtown.
Nancy J July 03, 2012 at 02:56 AM
I would be very, very concerned about adding 60+ units which brings a significant amount of cars to this intersection. Most one bedrooms will have a couple in them with possible 2 cars, 2 bedrooms could have 4 people, possible 4 cars, so it is likely to have more than 150 cars added to this nightmare on Main Street. The bypass will not alleviate this problem any more than the Hillside Strangler did on the tollway. In addition, I believe a Village official instrumental in bringing this upon us also procured a nice deal on two units at one point in time also. Perhaps he was able to unload them as well but we are still stuck with this terrible deal. Why were they allowed to tear down historic buildings when the people in Old Town are told to preserve at all costs? So many manipulations and back door deals, so little time to discuss. Why isn't someone attracting a well known, viable Starbucks or some other chain to the corner where the defunct dry cleaners and car dealer existed? There is space, it benefits the commuters, there's room for a drive through....It just seems that we keep making irrational decisions in haste with no accurate research. The bypass was originally engineered as a Northern which would have alleviated traffic coming over the river. A private resident opposed it and hired an engineer to create the Western for his own benefit. It seems like Riverside Plaza is doing the same snow job and some Trustees are buying it again. Irresponsible.
Danielle October 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM
What a great idea as more people are renting now than ever as the economy stinks! I do believe some 3 bedroom options would be a good idea instead of focusing on so many 1 bedroom places! And they could still do some sort of food drive through (panera would be awesome) or bar/dining on the bottom floor. Somebody needs to do something to finish and occupy this pretty waste of money!
Rob Quinn March 21, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Let's just get on with it. The building is there, so you can demo it, or use it. I can't imagine why anyone would want to live at the corner of rts. 62 & 31, but something must be done to bring in tax money on the property.
Rob Quinn March 21, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Hay, if you don't agree with Dan, your a racist. Wow, where did that come from? Maybe a racist?
Rob Quinn March 21, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Yep. But it's there now Jill. What are we to do?
Rob Quinn March 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Let's see, Joanne thought of a solution, and I don't think she is a politican, she is to intelligent. We need to utilize this property ASAP. The board should get this going NOW. We are ALL very tired of looking at your mess.
WILSON April 01, 2013 at 01:56 PM
I AGREE WITH THE SECTION 8 IDEA, I THINK THERE ARE ENOUGH SENIORS AND VETERANS TO MAKE THIS THING WORK. LEE
Rob Quinn April 03, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Linda, seniors don't need "full amenities" to live in a nice place (unless thay are over say 80). Transportation & concierge ??? The building has an underground parking area. You would be leaving in Algonquin, and need a concierge. ??? Don't think so.

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