Village approves Lexington sale
One of two conceptual drawings of the proposed Lexington Homes LLC project for 611 Green Bay Road. Wilmette village trustees approved the sale contract Dec. 19.
Details of the deal
The contract Wilmette trustees approved Wednesday outlines what the village expects Lexington to deliver with its 611 Green Bay Road proposal. It also gives Lexington room to withdraw the plan.
• The $4 million sale price is payable on closing, which does not happen until 30 days after Lexington gets all its zoning and other approvals. Before that, it will pay $25,000 “within three days of the village’s acceptance of the agreement” and another $75,000 after the 90-day due diligence period, as well as $30,000 toward village administrative and attorney costs.
• Lexington promises to develop a midrise building with approximately 8,000-10,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, about 110 residential apartments, plus parking spaces for both commercial and residential space.
• Lexington must win preliminary engineering approval, any necessary zoning variances and necessary land subdivisions, and appearance review approval.
• The developer can pull out of the deal if it doesn’t get those approvals within the 270-day approval period.
• It can also terminate the deal if Wilmette demands substantial plan changes, which the contract summary defined as “reduction of the proposed building height, reduction of the number of residential units, material changes to the configuration of residential units and material reductions to the square footage of the residential units” without Lexington’s consent.~.
Updated: December 28, 2012 2:18PM
The long journey to what backers hope will be a multi-story apartment and commercial complex in downtown Wilmette began Dec. 19 when village trustees unanimously approved a $4 million land sale between the village and Lexington Homes LLC.
Trustees said selling the former Wil-Shore Ford property at 611 Green Bay Road to the Chicago-based developer should create the kind of high-density transit-oriented living and commercial space now specifically called for in Wilmette’s comprehensive plan.
If all goes well, Trustee Alan Swanson said, construction could start in 2014.
Both sides in the deal still have a lot to do before the dream becomes a reality, something Village President Chris Canning emphasized before the vote, as he did when the deal was first announced Dec. 11.
Lexington now has 90 days to do due diligence on the parcel. It will have another 90 days to file applications for all the approvals it will need from the village. After that, Wilmette has a further 270 days to run the case through appearance review board and zoning board of appeals public hearings, as well as final village board consideration.
“When you add it all up, it’s a 15-month process … which gives the village time to do it right,” Swanson said.
That includes getting “broad public input” Trustee Mike Basil said.
“Tonight validates the village’s strategy,” Trustee Bob Beilinski said. “I can’t tell you how many people have asked me, ‘What’s going to happen to 611 Green Bay Road?’”
Trustee Ted Mckenna ticked off three reasons he liked the deal: its adherence to master plan principals, Lexington’s development experience, and a price that makes the village “better than whole,” compared to the $3.67 million Wilmette paid for the lot in February of 2011.
The brief Wednesday meeting was almost unattended by the public, but the owners of a neighboring property did ask the board to involve them in the coming review process.
West End Antiques at 619 Green Bay Road could be affected by the project said Jill Wine-Banks, wife of business owner Michael Banks. She said that her calls to Lexington officials for more information had gone unanswered, and said she hoped that would change.
When Michael Banks, who has been an occasional critic of the downtown planning process, asked why he had not been told of the sale, Beilinski pointed out the deal had been publicly announced as soon as necessarily closed negotiations were final. Beilinski also suggested that Lexington spokesmen might be more apt to talk about the project now that the contract was approved.~.