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A residential unit as planned for the Waterford Village development project. A residential unit as planned for the Waterford Village development project. COURTESY RENDERING

City of Walker to consider golf course redevelopment, incentives for Irwin Seating Co. project

BY Sunday, August 22, 2021 08:14pm

WALKER — The Walker City Commission will consider final approval for rezoning the former Lincoln Country Club property on Monday along with a tax abatement request from Irwin Seating Co. to expand its facility in Walker.

Irwin Seating has planned a 60,000-square-foot expansion at its location at 3501 Fruit Ridge Ave. NW. The furniture company is seeking a nine-year Industrial Facility Exemption Certificate. The company plans to add 15 new jobs as part of the project and estimates over $3 million in proposed real property for the expansion, according to city documents. If granted, an estimated $381,018 in taxes would be abated for the project over nine years.

City commissioners will also consider a request for the second reading to rezone the former Lincoln Country Club property located at 3485 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Illinois-based developer Stoneleigh Companies LLC is planning its Waterford Village development project on the property.

Development plans include constructing 67 single-family lots, 214 single-story rental units and commercial outlots on the site, as well as building a new access road into the development and a realignment of Lincoln Lawns Drive with Sunset Hills Drive to the south. 

The Walker Planning Commission voted unanimously on July 21 to recommend the city commission approve rezoning the property from agricultural zoning to a mixture of single-family residential, multi-family residential and commercial to pave the way for the redevelopment.

On May 10, the city commission voted to table the denial of the initial rezone request and formed an ad-hoc committee to work with the developer to revise a plan that is closer aligned with the city’s master plan. The committee met, and the city commission on Aug. 9 approved the first reading of the rezoning request. 

The site plan has been reconfigured to shift the multi-family portion further to the east on the property and the single-family part of the development is now planned to buffer Lincoln Lawns Drive, which borders an existing neighborhood. The plans do not align “perfectly” with the master plan, but they are “reasonable and feasible,” said Walker City Planning Director Tricia Anderson at the Aug. 9 city commission meeting.

Stoneleigh Companies struck a deal with AMF Bowling Centers Inc. in October 2019 to buy the country club property and closed on the sale in January 2021. The golf course and bowling alley on the site are closed permanently.

Cleveland-based Vocon is the project architect while Chicago-based Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. will serve as the civil engineer.

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