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Riverside Plaza Moves Forward as Rental Project

The Algonquin Village Board approved in a 5-2 vote Tuesday night an amendment to its planned unit development for Riverside Plaza. The vote will allow the development to move forward as a rental property.

The Riverside Plaza project will move forward as a rental project.

The village of Algonquin has been working with the developer of the project, John Breugelmans, to come to a compromise on what to do with the building that continues to sit vacant at Route 31 and Route 62.  

The building was originally approved for development of condos. As the economy has shifted, Breugelamns said no bank would finance condos and requested a shift to rentals.

In September, Algonquin's Committee of a Whole in an unofficial vote turned down Breugelmans' request for 69 rental units, requesting fewer and more spacious units in the building.

On Thursday, the Algonquin Village Board voted 5-2 to approve an amendment to the planned unit development allowing a change in the floor plan from 54 condominiums to 63 rental units. Trustees Debby Sosine and John Spella voted against the amendment.

Both expressed concern over the development moving forward as a rental property. 

“I still have concerns,” Sosine said. “I have had people talk to me and they are not OK with the increase in units.”

Spella echoed those sentiments.

“I too have talked to people on both sides of town, east and west, north and south … my consensus was that most of the community I spoke to was not in favor of this property,” he said.

Other trustees said moving forward with the rental plan for Riverside Plaza was crucial for the future development of Algonquin's downtown. 

"The point was to get people back downtown. I think we are looking at something that is workable. Something that is going to achieve our goal,” Trustee Robert Smith said.

Russ Farnum, community development director, said the changes come with fifteen stipulations that must be met by the developer.

Some of those stipulations include: the rentals must be converted to owner-occupied condos by July 1, 2018; Riverside Plaza must be actively under construction within a year; and the units can be no smaller than 920 square feet with 18 of the units over 1,400 square feet, Farnums said.

Two-thirds of development will be two-bedroom units while one-third will be one-bedroom units. The agreement also set up the property as a special service area, which allows for a tax to be levied on the property if necessary to pay for repairs or necessary maintenance of the property, Farnum said.

The Riverside development will include indoor parking and retail space at the ground level.

The approved plan for rental units has been a long-time coming.

Breugelmans first told the Committee of a Whole in May that he could not develop condos in the current market. Since then, there have been several heated discussions at village board meetings and revisions in plans by village staff.

“All of our critics have helped to make this project better in the long run,” Farnum said. “We feel this plan meets the goals of our downtown for the long term.” 

jeff October 17, 2012 at 04:16 AM
They wont be able to rent jack and squat! Wait till the would be renters see the traffic and hear the noise of 31 & 62 in the morning. The retail space will be vacant as no one will be able to pull in and out and not want to shop and any would be retailer with 1/2 a brain would never rent space there. Now the local government says its good for the future development of downtown? What can you do with downtown Algonquin? Don't get me wrong I love the town but theres no shopping downtown? We have few restaurants 2 bars and a pool hall theres no lure,bad traffic and no parking and no way to compete with the other shopping opportunities a mile to the west and unless the rent is dirt cheap which will attract who knows what no one would rent there anyway especially after they check out the other rental properties in the area. Maybe its just me but it just seems like a bad idea from the get go!
Jamiedog October 17, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I gotta agree with your comments, Jeff. Plus-the residents of Algonquin need more details on the proposed TAX that is to be levied on the property "to pay for its repairs and maintenance".... Gee, wouldn't it be great if we could ALL do the same to have smeone cover our abode's maintenance and repairs! Is this tax going to be added as a new SALES tax that the general population will have to pay, or will it be rolled into the "rent" that the complex's residents will have to pay? Let's get more details on the TAX before anything else is decided!
JOHN WOZNIAK October 17, 2012 at 02:32 PM
BOY TALK ABOUT FLIP-FLOPS, THE VILLAGE BOARD WAS AGAINST IT BEFORE IT WAS FOR IT. !
jeff October 17, 2012 at 03:03 PM
When you have a flip flop that it just means somebody was paid!
Stu October 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM
So what's next months plan when these fail to rent and are sitting there empty?
Kristine October 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Kudos to Sosine and Spella for at least listening to the taxpayers and not letting an ill-advised, arrogant investor of a property that was destined to fail in the first place bully the rest of the Village Board. I thought the original stipulation of that project getting approval was that the property would NOT be rentals. It angers me that the Village isn't standing up for what they initially fought for and it makes them look weak for any future regulations/ordinances that Breugelmans doesn't agree with or want to follow. Why does one man seemingly have such power over a group of leaders who are supposed to be doing the will of their constituents- does he have incriminating photos or something (obviously I'm joking)? Or is it simply good old fashioned politics at work and there are now 5 freshly-greased palms on the Village board? My guess is the latter.
Soonwinner October 17, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Bad idea as condos an bad idea as rentals.
Warren Cotton October 17, 2012 at 08:12 PM
This project doesn't contribute to the development of downtown Algonquin in any positive way. Algonqnuin needs businesses and parking in its downtown, not rental units. The parking in Riverside was designed for 54 units. Now there will be 9 more units. Where will those people park?
Mikein algonquin October 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
What happens if noy turned to condos by 7/1/18? Also, previous articles said the owners would not take Section 8 housing. Is this still accurate? And if so, what happens if they do take Section 8?
J Jordan October 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
It seems everyone is missing the overall program that's happening in Algonquin. The bypass will help eliminate some of the noise for the units. There is retail scheduled for the ground floor and there is parking for the units. Also, with residents moving in, it will limited to singles/couples or families with one child. This will limit folks with intentions of having large families from staying, they'll simply outgrow the space. Also, if I was living in one of those units, the various types of restaurants certainly provides variety. Downtown Algonquin is new to the rental market, with the appropriate controls on renters, I would think it will work out. Its not going to bring any more traffic to the area, there's plenty of that already and I would think that those who would rent already commute in/out of the area already. If we're worried about what happens in 2018, the property owner should be required to find "lease option to buy" tennants". This narrows the field of renters down, only those who intend to purchase would be renting and those folks, since they're in it for the long haul, will contribute positively to the area. Change is good people, accept it and let's see what happens.
JOHN WOZNIAK October 18, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I don't think you can limit renting to people with one child, this is not China !
Nestor Hays January 09, 2013 at 05:08 PM
First 2018 is worlds away from today and almost infinity as far as market situation. Also unless you go Adults Only you can't limit no of dependents in a unit. And at $1200-2400/month who in their right minds would lease in Algonquin. It ain't Chicago people and Port Edwards doesn't make a diverse night life.
Warren Cotton January 09, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Just because a bank is willing to lend money to complete the project as a rental doesn't mean that anyone will be willing to rent there, or at least not enough to make the project viable. The project should never have been approved in the first place. Now it's gong from bad to worse.
JOHN WOZNIAK January 09, 2013 at 07:15 PM
HAS ANYBODY LOOKED AT THE ENTRANCE AND EXIT OF THE PARKING GARAGE ? HOW COULD A CAR GET IN OR OUT ? LOOKS LIKE NO PLAN WITH NO FORTHOUGHT.....

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