Downtown Algonquin Gets a Second Chance

Back when I state representative in the 1990’s I suggested that Algonquin could improve the quality of life of pretty much everyone driving east on Algonquin Road across Route 31 by creating a park where the failed condominium project now sits.  Back then state money might even have been available.

People driving down the hill could see the river on their way to work.

Water has a calming effect on almost everyone. I think that’s why waterfront property is so valued.

Riverside Square will come tumbling down, if the Algonquin Village Board gets its way.

Now that the Village of Algonquin has announced that it will seek to demolish Riverside Square, the village board has another chance to turn it into a park.

Village President John Schmidt said,

““This structure has sat vacant and unfinished, with no siding and no fire protection, for over a year and a half. This building is an eyesore, a fire hazard, and an attractive nuisance, but what is worse, it has deteriorated and continues to deteriorate.

“The Village is afraid that it will rapidly become a worse hazard than it already is.”

Maybe AMCORE Bank will just walk away from the project and trade the land for demolition costs.

However it is paid for, I hope area residents will end up with open space there through which eastbound drivers can see the Fox River.

The village issued the following press release March 17th:

Village to Petition Court for Demolition of Riverside Square

Algonquin – At its March 16 Board Meeting, the Village Board of the Village of Algonquin approved a motion authorizing the Village Attorney to file suit against the owner, Amcore Bank, any and all lien holders and other interested persons, asking the court to order demolition of the half-finished structure at the intersection of Illinois Routes 31 and 62.

The basis of the suit lies in the outstanding code violations that exist at the half-finished structure. Village Board President John Schmitt said, “This structure has sat vacant and unfinished, with no siding and no fire protection, for over a year and a half. This building is an eyesore, a fire hazard, and an attractive nuisance, but what is worse, it has deteriorated and continues to deteriorate. The Village is afraid that it will rapidly become a worse hazard than it already is.”

The project was originally approved in November 2006. In October 2008, Amcore Bank halted payouts on the construction loan, and the developer filed for bankruptcy shortly thereafter. In May 2009, Amcore took title to the property in lieu of foreclosure.

Village leaders have given Amcore Bank ample opportunity to repair the structure and have taken subsequent enforcement action on the building. Building Commissioner Craig Arps said,

“The Village initially told Amcore to complete the roof, the windows, and the exterior brick by December 2009. In November 2009, Amcore informed us that they had chosen not to complete the brick on the outside of the structure.”

With incomplete siding, water is entering the building, causing mold and rot which can rapidly weaken the wooden structure of the building and may cause the existing brick and mortar to fail.

In January, the Village charged Amcore with multiple ongoing property maintenance and building code violations, with daily fines of up to one thousand dollars for each violation.

“Obviously the threat of large fines is not working,” said Arps, “the building is just sitting there, half finished and exposed to the weather.”

“It’s unfortunate that we have to pursue this avenue,” said Schmitt. “We’ve tried working with Amcore Bank, and they have consistently refused to complete the exterior of the building.”


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