ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Signs of the nation’s improving economy can be seen all around Lombard in the form of previously empty storefronts filled with bustling new enterprises or replaced by new construction.
“We had a very good, very busy 2015 during which we issued over 2500 permits amounting to $82.3 million in property improvements in the village,” said Bill Heniff, Lombard’s director of community development. “That included 148 new or relocated businesses.” “We are particularly pleased to see reinvestment in tired, old properties. For instance, a 7,000-square-foot strip center called Lilac Plaza was recently completed on the site of an old gas station at the corner of North Avenue and Grace Street,” he said. “In addition, a Burger King in High Point Center, which had been closed for four years, has been renovated and re-opened. Construction is also underway at the former Fotel Industries along East St. Charles Road. It is being replaced by an indoor storage center.” On Butterfield Road, Keystone Properties will be demolishing the former Landmark Restaurant and replacing it with two buildings of 6,000 square feet each. They plan to lease them to either restaurants or retailers. The old Lombard Hotel in downtown Lombard is even in the process of being renovated and converted into a new table service restaurant with an historic flavor, which the owners plan to call Babcock’s Grove House. “The village helped them to get a grant to preserve the building and now work is proceeding at a feverish pace because they plan to open this spring,” Heniff said. Elsewhere in the downtown area, Marquette Kitchen and Tap has opened and Shannon’s Deli is working on façade improvements and possibly rooftop seating now that they have completed their expanded indoor seating. Pioneer Child Care is also constructing its relocated school near the Post Office and they plan to move once it is complete later this year. “The village is also working with Yorktown Center to redevelop 15 acres at the northern end of their site, making it into a mixeduse development called Yorktown Commons. They hope to have construction started on their first phase by the end of 2016 which will be primarily a residential development. Both Yorktown and the village seek to create more of a neighborhood that features higherend apartments, condominiums or townhouses that will add value to the mall. It has been an under-utilized area to which we are all hoping to bring a new vision and added value,” Heniff said. Two new international corporations have also located facilities in Lombard. Partek Marking Systems, a Swedish firm that makes special wire marking systems for messaging in warehouses and factories, has brought its new North American headquarters to the village. In addition, Kosmek USA, a Japanese maker of hydraulic clamping systems for industrial uses, is in the process of building a
facility in Oak Creek Business Park. There is even some exciting new residential construction. Airhart Construction has purchased property in the downtown area. The company will construct detached, single-family homes similar to ones it built near the College Avenue Station in Wheaton. The homes will be fee-simple with small yards and will be within walking distance of the Lombard train station. The project will be called Park Place of Lombard. “We are very pleased that this stalled parcel is finally moving forward, especially with housing of a type that we have never had in Lombard. It will fill a nice niche,” Heniff said. Still on the drawing board are plans for a Sam’s Club at the corner of Butterfield and Fairfield Roads. They hope to start construction there this summer and open during 2017, he added. In order to encourage further growth and development in Lombard, Heniff said that the Village Board has approved an economic incentive policy that is intended to facilitate redevelopment of key parcels. The Village staff is also working to update their procedures so that tasks like permit submissions, inspection requests, payments and even contractor registrations may all be done 24/7 and on-line. Other similar improvements are also forthcoming.
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