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Wheaton developer eyes McChesney and Miller site in downtown Glen Ellyn

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 5:19 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:32 a.m. CST

GLEN ELLYN – A new residential and parking development may be coming to downtown Glen Ellyn at the site of longtime grocer McChesney and Miller.

Although plans are still being discussed and nothing has been approved, the development could include a 502-space parking garage, a 185-unit apartment building and about 3,750 square feet of retail space that would replace the grocery store and part of a nearby commuter parking lot, said Jim Hughes, Jr., CEO of Wheaton-based Next Generation Development.

The developer is under contract to purchase the property from McChesney and Miller owner Bill Behrmann, but the closing of the sale depends on whether the project plans receive approval from the village of Glen Ellyn, Hughes said.

Next Generation Development was initially attracted to downtown Glen Ellyn after hearing about the village's efforts to bring development to the area, he said.

A Downtown Strategic Plan was approved in 2009, which features goals that correspond to the proposed development, including increasing downtown residential units and public parking structures, according to plan documents.

The developer hopes to receive financial assistance from Glen Ellyn to build the three-story parking garage, which would then be owned by the village, Hughes said. Next Generation would lease garage spaces for residents of the apartment complex.

So far, the village appears to like the development concept, he said.

"It's just a matter of them getting their arms around the financial component," Hughes said.

Village Manager Mark Franz said the details of the parking garage have not been finalized, but different scenarios have been discussed.

"We're going to continue to keep an open dialogue," he said.

The garage would be built with two stories below ground and one above ground. The five-story apartment building would sit on top of the garage. The project would close Crescent Boulevard between Glenwood and Prospect avenues.

Next Generation has been in talks with village staff for about a year and recently began casual conversations with individual trustees, Hughes said.

"It's been a staff-driven review up until this point," Franz said.

Besides addressing aspects of the village's Downtown Strategic Plan, benefits could include drawing residents to live in the area and support downtown businesses, Franz said.

The site of the potential development also is part of a tax increment financing (TIF) district, where property taxes to local government entities are frozen. Any increase in taxes that occurs as a result of a rise in property values goes into a TIF fund that is reinvested in the area.

The proposed development could result in an increase in property values, Franz said.

There are a number of approval processes that still need to take place before any construction could begin, however.

If Next Generation's conceptual plans are approved, Hughes hopes to develop more detailed plans and complete necessary studies this year, with a construction start date in early 2015.

Cost estimates for the proposed project are not yet available, he said.

McChesney and Miller has operated in downtown Glen Ellyn since 1862, making it the oldest retail store in DuPage County, according to its website. The current building is not the store's original location in Glen Ellyn.

Behrmann declined to comment. However, Hughes said he has been in talks with the store about potentially using the retail space the new development would offer.

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