Mayor candidates disagree on what to do with Arlington Market

  • Philip Walter

    Philip Walter

  • Arlene Mulder

    Arlene Mulder

Published: 3/18/2009 12:01 AM

More than two years ago and in front of 100 residents, the Arlington Heights village board approved the Arlington Market project at a meeting that lasted until midnight.

Some residents didn't like the plan because of the planned number of homes. Others wanted a larger grocery store and said the project would have a negative effect on their property values.

Those fears - and the entire project - have been put on pause because of the economy.

Philip Walter and Arlene Mulder - candidates for Arlington Heights village president - disagree on what should happen now to the site at the northwest corner of Dryden Place and Kensington Road.

Walter said the village should clean up the site and bill the developer.

"I'd say you have 45 days to clean up the property and if you don't do it, the village will do it for you," said Walter at an Arlington Heights candidates forum on Saturday. "If the village does it, we'll put a lien on the property and bill him for the work."

Mulder said village officials can't simply barge onto private property. The village has already fined the developer, but can't force the company to build on the site, she said.

"Remember, it's private property. We can't just go there and change things to the way we like it," Mulder said. "I agree it's an eyesore, but we're doing everything we can do."

The village sent a letter to the developer on Jan. 10, demanding he clean up the site and pay outstanding fees.

"Be advised that this construction site must continue to be secured from any unlawful entry at all times," states the certified letter. "Any breach with fencing in violation of the village code must be corrected immediately. Failure to correct any site deficiencies shall be deemed a violation of the village code."

Outstanding fees totaled $33,000 for water meter and water connection fees, and another $800 for plan reviews.

The Arlington Market plan is supposed to include 112 condominiums, 54 townhouses and 42,000 square feet of retail space. The project was first proposed in 2003 and went though countless changes during the planning process. The vote was contingent on securing the guarantee of a five-year grocery store lease to fill the spot Jewel left empty in 2002.

For the retail portion, which is mostly built, Eros Restaurant, Subway Restaurant, Signature Cleaners and Ben Franklin Bank, all tenants of the old strip shopping center on the site, re-signed leases.

Last month, village officials announced Roundy's Supermarkets is planning a grocery store at the former Lattof Chevrolet dealership site at 800 E. Northwest Highway.

Because Roundy's is so close to Arlington Market, the developer will probably be let out of his grocery store promise, according to Arlington Heights officials.

Mulder is running for her fifth term as village president. Since 2000, Walter has run twice for trustee and lost. For the past few years, Walter has been a regular at village board meetings, criticizing spending and how open the board is for regular citizens.

The election is April 7.