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.”