WALKER — An Illinois developer is seeking final site plan approval for a 250-unit apartment complex at the former Lincoln Country Club that would greenlight the first phase of what’s been a multi-year process stalled by neighborhood concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Walker Planning Commission at its Wednesday meeting will consider the first phase of Stoneleigh Companies LLC’s Waterford Village planned unit development. The single-story apartment units are the first of three phases planned for the overall project, which also would include 68 single-family housing units and commercial outlots on the site.
The 250 apartments would span 39 buildings and feature a mix of 128 one-bedroom units, 100 units with two bedrooms and 22 units with three bedrooms. A 5,255-square-foot clubhouse, landscaping, walking paths and gathering spaces in open areas also are included in the project’s first phase.
Project site plans have undergone several iterations and received extensive review from city staff following pushback from neighbors of the proposed development at 3461 Lake Michigan Drive NW. Those concerns have centered on potential increased traffic in the area, living near rental properties and loss of wildlife habitat and trees during construction.
“It was a long process through the city,” Stoneleigh Companies Development Manager Anthony Rodriguez told MiBiz. “The city wanted us to dot every i and cross every t because of how vocal the community has been and get all our ducks in a row.”
The development has been held up by complications with acquiring the land and COVID-19, which prevented the development team from holding in-person community meetings to discuss the plan with neighbors, setting back the whole timeline, Rodriguez explained. Developers were eventually allowed to hold a virtual community meeting over Zoom, which featured a large number of neighbors giving feedback.
The community input process along with a traffic study led to the need for a new traffic signal at the project entrance along Lake Michigan Drive and Waterford Village Drive, which will be a new road constructed as part of the project, Rodriguez said.
Pending approval Wednesday, construction could begin on Waterford Village Drive in October, then construction would begin on the first apartment buildings likely that same month or in November, Rodriguez said.
“The product of housing we’re proposing, we’re able to construct the first two buildings and a clubhouse within eight months of starting construction,” Rodriguez said. “We’re looking at June of 2023 to deliver the first two buildings and clubhouse, then two to three buildings will be completed every month after that.”
The multifamily portion of the Waterford Village development could be completed by April 2024 if construction goes as planned.
“What we’re proposing is a walkable type of mixed-use development with walking trails and recreational parks,” Rodriguez said. “Originally the golf course that was there did fairly well, but over the last four or five years, they weren’t making revenue and it was going downhill. We knew this would be a good plan to add value from a tax perspective and for the community.”
Stoneleigh Companies reached a deal with AMF Bowling Centers Inc. in October 2019 to buy the country club property, and closed on the sale in January 2021. Cleveland-based Vocon is the project architect while Chicago-based Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. serves as the civil engineer.