A developer’s plan to build townhouses where an all-but-vacant shopping center in Mundelein now stands has cleared an important hurdle.
The village’s planning and zoning commission on Wednesday supported a proposal to raze most of the Oak Creek Plaza building on Townline Road east of Route 45 and build townhouses there.
The company behind the plan, D.R. Horton, wants to put up 45 buildings containing 222 townhouses. A public park and a central gathering place for residents also are planned, village documents show.
The project has been dubbed the Townes at Oak Creek. Mayor Steve Lentz is a fan of the plan.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Lentz said. “Our whole village should be excited about this.”
Decades ago, the roughly 33-acre site was a thriving shopping venue, home to a Menards home improvement store, a Hobby Lobby crafts store and other retailers. But over time, the stores departed and weren’t replaced.
A Walmart was proposed for the land about a decade ago, but that deal fell through. Foreclosure followed, as well as bankruptcy for the former property owner. A financial services outfit called Thrivent Financial now owns the site.
In 2017, the village board hired a consultant to recommend redevelopment options for Oak Creek Plaza and the entire Townline Road corridor. Homes were among the ideas put forth.
Several businesses in free-standing buildings near the plaza — including Pita Inn and Culver’s restaurants — aren’t part of the property. Neither is an XFactor Trampoline attraction that’s in an independently owned storefront.
If the redevelopment moves forward as proposed, XFactor and those free-standing businesses will remain.
The planning commission, which advises the village board on development issues, recommended trustees approve several requests from the developer regarding the property, including rezoning the site as residential.
The plan now goes to the board, which will review it at an undetermined meeting.
The developer wants to begin work as soon as possible this year, Mundelein Senior Planner Colleen Malec said.
Trustee Tim Wilson praised the developer for working with village staffers on the building designs and the proposed layout of the neighborhood.
“I like what they have come back with,” Wilson said. “If built, (it) should have a positive impact on the businesses adjacent to the development and be a nice addition to our community.”