The largest redevelopment project the Village of Glencoe has seen in decades has the green light to move forward.
Glencoe’s Village Board unanimously approved Thursday, Oct. 15, the final plat of a subdivision and associated subdivision development agreement for the Forest Edge subdivision, the former Hoover Estate property, located at 1801 Green Bay Road.
The approved subdivision project includes 29 new single-family homes stretched across the 12.25-arce parcel in northeast Glencoe along with new public infrastructure and a detailed stormwater management system.
Twenty-eight of the lots are planned to be accessed by a publicly dedicated road that is accessible from the intersection of Green Bay and Westley roads, according to village documents detailing the proposal. The one remaining lot will be directly fronting Green Bay Road.
Plans for the development of the property, which was formerly owned and controlled by the Hoover family until it was sold in late 2018, first appeared in front of the public in mid-2019. The proposal, after a recommendation from Glencoe’s Plan Commission, made its way to the village board in October of 2019.
Village trustees approved a preliminary plat for a proposed residential subdivision on the property in mid-October of 2019. Approval of the preliminary plat was however subject to several conditions set by officials. After several rounds of revisions, the developer applied for a final plat roughly a year after first bringing plans to officials.
“This (development) really got started in the summer of 2019 and there were a lot more public meetings I think perhaps than the developer anticipated; but I think the outcome created a better development not only for the developer but for the overall community,” said Phil Kiraly, Glencoe’s village manager.
The development faced numerous changes throughout its proceedings, the most significant of which relates to the project’s stormwater management.
“I think some of the areas (of change) of most significance relate to the magnitude of stormwater detention systems and utilizing those updated rainfall standards from the metropolitan water reclamation district, which came into effect after Jan. 1 of this year,” Kiraly said. “Those really did alter the design of that stormwater system. I think that was probably the most dramatic change that evolved.”
Kiraly said the village believes the stormwater management plan and system that was approved with the proposal is sufficient, adding that several engineers provided guidance and feedback on the approved design.
Finalizing the stormwater management design took significant time on the development team’s part after the preliminary review was concluded last fall, Kiraly said.
The developer needed to make adjustments to the original design related to stormwater management before the final plan could be presented back in front of the village’s plan commission.
“A particularly important part of the village board’s direction in allowing the preliminary design to move forward to final design was that neighboring properties not be negatively impacted by this new development,” Kiraly said. “So that was something that was very near and dear to our hearts at the staff level and certainly at the village board level to see a real robust and effective stormwater management system be installed as part of this subdivision.”
The proposal’s footprint received little change throughout the process. The applicant, Glencoe Developers LLC, originally proposed 29 lots in 2019 and received approval for 29 lots last week.
Other changes in the proposal evolved throughout the process.
There is now the inclusion of a sidewalk that runs through the entirety of the new subdivision, and a pedestrian connection and an emergency vehicle connection to Northwood Drive. Kiraly said those updates resulted mainly because of discussions that occurred during the Plan Commission’s reviews, adding they were “important additions.”
A significant aspect of this project that remains ambiguous is the preservation of one or more of the existing structures currently on the estate itself.
The property currently has a larger manor house; a smaller stable building, which was originally constructed as a stable and now features living quarters; and a coach house.
While the approved agreement does not include specifics about those structures, village officials hope an effort to maintain them continues.
“I know there still remains some ongoing dialogue between the development team and individuals interested in finding a way to preserve one or both of those structures, either on the site in some way or relocating,” Kiraly said.
“Whether that is possible is certainly something that we are encouraging the developer and interested parties to continue working on. But it’s a difficult process to pick up and move a building. Especially because these aren’t small structures. … So that’s an effort that continues.”
The property’s “iconic” main gates and the piers for those gates will remain as a part of one of the lots.
“We’re glad about that. I think that’s an iconic part of the estate that for a lot of people is really the only visual queue that the estate existed,” Kiraly said. “It was really pretty well hidden from the streets and kind of an enigma to a lot of people in town. Quite frankly I think one of the biggest surprises a lot of people had was that 12.25 acres of open space existed behind those gates. Just diving past it you wouldn’t’ assume that.”
Village officials believe preliminary work will likely start sometime in the winter months and anticipate the finalization of three model homes in place by the second or third quarter of 2021 if all goes as planned.
The Hoover Estate property was the largest remaining undeveloped parcel left in Glencoe, according to village documents. With a development plan for this property now in place, village officials aren’t anticipating anything of this scale coming forward for quite some time.
“Obviously, this is probably the largest subdivision we’ve had in several decades and it’ll probably be a long time until we see another one this size,” Kiraly said. “… So we realized this is probably the last of these that we’re going to do for quite some time. And I think to some degree that’s why there was a significant amount of care applied to this. Not only from its scale and magnitude but wanting it to be something that the community can be proud of looking into the future.”
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.