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Developer Proposes 'Urban’ Apartment Complex for West of Randall Road

Representatives of JCF Real Estate say the development would feature pocket parks, fitness center and an internet café for renters.

Backers of a plan to build a 342-apartment complex west of Randall Road didn’t take long to make clear the concepts behind their proposal.

Representatives of  and a design firm hired for the project presented an upscale complex that focused on amenities for residents and boasts retail and office storefronts in mixed-use buildings for a more "urban" feel. They envision three- and four-story apartment buildings overlooking an area spotted with pocket parks, featuring a clubhouse, fitness center and Internet café.

All this would go on about 17 acres of land that, in 2008, was approved for the development of office buildings.

The market is showing in a shift in how quickly and likely JCF are to fill office space, said Paul Robertson, an executive vice president with Schaumburg-based company. They had originally anticipated it would take 6-8 years to complete the multiple phases of the Corporate Reserves development.

“We’re two years behind schedule, today,” Robertson told the  Tuesday.

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Developers estimated the pricing would come in around $1.50 to $1.70 a square foot for the studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Joe Safin of BSB Design, the national design firm working with JCF on the project, said market research for these more amenity-heavy complexes does not find support for three-bedroom apartments and tend not to attract families with multiple children. The tendency now for many people is to rent rather than own a house but still want the amenities associated with homeownership. 

"We’re seeing a lot of different demographics going to rental communities. It’s by choice and because they have to," Safin said. 

At an average of 900 square feet, rent would range from about $1,300 to $1,500, according to that estimate—not counting apartments priced to meet city affordable housing rules.

By comparison, AMLI at St. Charles lists rent for its one-bedroom apartments in the Kirk Road complex at about $1,000 to $1,100, according to the AMLIwebsite. Two-bedroom places range from $1,100 to $1,400.

Rents for apartments at Shodeen-owned Covington Court on Prairie Street fall within the $900 to $1,200 range.

Hearing the concept plan for the first time Tuesday night, Plan Commission members had a bit of a mixed reaction to the idea of such a dense complex, even though most welcomed the change to residential.

Members expressed positive comments on the proposal, citing the unique idea of a more urban-style pocket of residential housing.

“Frankly, I think it’d be terrific to have something in this area of a more urban design, similar to what we would see downtown on First Street,” said Plan Commission member Tom Schuetz.

Schuetz said that one of his children just bought a home in St. Charles and imagined that his other kids, who are in their early 20s, might appreciate a more urban, mixed-use area.

Member Brian Doyle said he believed the there is a market for the residential development but expressed concerns about the design of the complex. He also said that developers would hear concerns related the density. 

Housing developments neighbor the proposed site to the west and south.

“We don’t have high-density in this area.” Doyle said.

Patrick Sharpe November 09, 2011 at 11:15 AM
Where is this complex west of Randall? Do you have a map?
Sue Tills November 09, 2011 at 12:44 PM
The last thing we need is more apartments on the west side of town! The city should try to focus on filling the vacant businesses we already have before allowing builders to add more empty spaces. We already went through this with the Shodeen fiasco. It may be a good plan for the builder, but it's not good for St. Charles.
Clara Meredith November 09, 2011 at 02:50 PM
The thing that concerns me about development in Elgin is that there is so much focus on construction for those with a higher income. I live off the downtown area and see so much newer construction that is sitting empty. I would love to see some movement towards building housing that is affordable for those of us who are lower middle or working class. Our choices are fewer and fewer and I feel like Elgins' working class is being squeezed into less and less space.
Helen Crump November 09, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Really? We need more housing? There are so many for sale and for rent signs and empty buildings as it is ... I can't imagine we need more.
Nick Swedberg (Editor) November 09, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I added the location to the map on the right side of this article. Corporate Reserve is at the intersection of Cardinal Drive and West Main Street. The site for the proposed complex is located to the northwest of that intersection. (My previous comment said "East Main Street).
robert poznanski November 09, 2011 at 05:52 PM
A high density apartment complex, and a rental one, at that, is not a good idea for this area, and I for one would fight it, as it would impact the area, one of single family homes, and light density housing! Before one is even contemplated for this area, that is already earmarked for light office,the open spaces that are sitting in town (the st charles mall property, to wit) should be considered first, as that is the true "glut" on the city, and should be dealt with FIRST! The real shame of this is that the property in question, was a wild area, full of wildlife, and large dense forest,and was stripped down to weeded, open land, and now they want to fill it with people, who have no real interest, in the area, renters! No Way!!!
Vanessa Bell-LaSota November 09, 2011 at 06:17 PM
Let's do the math together: while east side schools have dramatically lower class sizes, the east side is littered with vacancies and grey fields , our economic dev. dept explains to our aldermen that the reason that east side target, sears, kohls, etc are smaller stores, and any major chain store would be, is due to the fact that the shopping trend there is local, from surrounding residents , w/ a finite population, a mall is in a grindingly slow recovery, area business may have a new "overlay" tax on services, retail & hotel, "to attract new business", IDOT work will ease traffic .The west side: 90% of all rentals, w/2-7 yr vacancy rate, crowded schools, several schools needing major renovation, a 27 acre plot that Lexington desires to fill w/143 homes,townhomes,rentals in the midst of a dense, mixed center city neighborhood & light industry....an "F" IDOT traffic rating @ 7th & Main, among others, STC mall site looming w/ a new mixed use proposal on another infil neighborhood site, the Red Gate road , w/ a flawed traffic study ,short on funding & long on hype, being threatened w/ a irrelevant bridge project promising,to add 4500 vehicles to a curving 2-lane rd past a high on the west side? Why aren't we building on the east side, infusing new business there where it is dearly needed? Do we think these residents will come east to shop? NO! They'll go to Randall and hang a left or a right & bypass downtown using the Stearns or the imagined Red Gate bridge.
Elizabeth R November 11, 2011 at 12:31 PM
I too think the City needs to promote more East Side apartments to sustain the commercial there. That's always been the problem on that side of town. All they really have is Amli. The flip side of this for me, it makes way more sense if they are going to allow more apartments to place them out there instead of the crazy plan Shodeen had for the Old Mall property. West Main to Peck Rd is slowly becoming part of STC's Randall Rd corridor and will be eventually built out to Peck Road, so for location and convience, have the units there does sort of make sense. More office will never work as we have a glut as it is and will take years to ever fill. Would ya rather small industrial put in with all the homes? I don't think so. Sad to say, now the folks are there are worried like the West Siders who fought Shodeen. Now they see how it feels, I think they need to reach out to the Near West Group for info and support and maybe even the folks around St. Pats & DEan St who are also concerned about Lexington Homes proposed 140+ residential project and $5mil TIF plan. If the entire West Side gathered together as one large group, City Hall would surely sit up and take notice.
Sue Tills November 11, 2011 at 01:00 PM
These apartment kids would be going to the Davis/Richmond school according to the boundaries. The last thing we need are more apartment kids to educate in those schools. The area was zoned retail for a reason and should stay that way. Unfortunately, the developer knows now is not the time to build retail. So they want to make a quick buck at St. Charles' expense exactly like Shodeen. Hopefully the city council understands this zoning change should not be allowed. It's not good for St. Charles.
Rolf Meyer November 11, 2011 at 11:48 PM
The development does not at all fit into the area. There is a lot of residential single family housing and this packed type of housing is not attracting the people St. Charles wants to have.
Sandy Kaczmarski November 12, 2011 at 03:17 AM
I'm glad development has slowed down, but not for the reason. My real estate friends point to "too much inventory" with retail and housing. How many people could afford $1,300 a month for 900 square feet? Wow. Too many people are out of work or making far less than they used to (myself included). It seems there are too many empty house and empty stores for this to be a good idea anytime in the near future.

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