Home Builders Presenting Info on Proposed Development to Public Wednesday Night

The public can learn more information on a proposed single-family development for the vacant property along Maple Avenue at Grounds for Hope Cafe. No official project has been filed with the Village yet.


A national home building company has its eye on the patch of land formerly reserved for Meijer, and will release more information Wednesday night on its proposed concept.

K. Hovnanian Homes, formerly Town and Country Homes, is looking to construct a single-family community called Arbor Trails on the 60-acre plot between and the Green Trails Shopping Center on Maple Avenue.

The developer is holding a “sneak preview” at from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening. The developers will present a ‘preliminary land plan and home designs,' as well as answer residents’ questions. The development would include 163 homes, according to K. Hovnanian Homes representative Scott Barenbrugge.

Can't attend the presentation? Check back with Patch tomorrow for updated information, or subscribe to our daily newsletter.

K. Hovnanian Homes purchased five suburban Chicago communities in 2011, and hopes to bring its reach to another five in 2012, according to Barenbrugge. He said location is a key factor in choosing a community.

"There's certainly some great opportunities in the marketplace, specifically in Lisle and this site," said Barenbrugge. "Lisle is situated near lots of employment, near highways. District 203 has some of the best schools in the state, and [Lisle] ranks very high on our list of great places to build."

Village Manager Jerry Sprecher said the builders have discussed their project with village staff, and while it seems likely they’ll make a formal presentation to the board, they have yet to file any official applications.

“As I understand it, we would expect that they are going to forward an application within a couple weeks or so,” he said.

Meijer Stores L.P. is still the registered owner of the property, according to the Lisle Township Assessor’s Office. Sprecher said the building company will likely operate on a contingent agreement with Meijer during its application process, and the official transition of property would take place upon final board approval. However, Sprecher said the Village is not privy to agreements between the companies.



A legal suit was successful in preventing the superstore from setting up shop roughly a decade ago, according to the Chicago Tribune. While a Meijer spokesman told the Tribune in 2003 that they were still interested in developing the property, they never approached the board with a new project.

Trustees and residents alike have expressed an interest in seeing the property developed, though not as a big box store. Village trustee candidates discussed their during a candidate forum last march. Candidates, including trustees Mark Boyle, Cathy Cawiezel, and Ed Young, agreed that some single-family development would be beneficial to the area. Patch readers of restaurants, multi-family housing, and retaining open space.


This story was originally published on Jan. 11.

Thomas January 11, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I have to say, this is pretty ambitious on the home builders part in this housing market and economy in general.
Jane January 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Why not present the "preliminary" plan at a plan commission meeting? There seems to be a growing adversion to being under oath and tesifying...
George P January 11, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Given the severe drop in home values in Lisle, the huge number of homes on the market, number of homes in foreclosure, adding hundreds of new homes to the single family home supply in Lisle will only push existing home prices lower. Bad news for Lisle home owners/taxpayers/voters, good news for first time buyers
Uncle Buckeye January 11, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Whoa, wait a minute. Lisle doesn’t need any more single family homes, what it needs is TAX GENERATING RETAIL businesses. Many of us are really tired living in the “retail desert” called Lisle; being forced to drive to some other community giving them our tax dollars to buy even the most mundane of items. Mayor Broda is now talking about what he deems a necessary increase in Village tax dollars to accompany his already implemented 5% utility surcharge. Add this to the excessive cost of American Water forced on the already penalized Oakview residents due to year’s old Village oversight and neglect and many Lisle voters continue to get more and more disenchanted. The good Mayor along with current and previous Village Boards spent fourteen million dollars on what can now be viewed as an overly optimistic and failed “new downtown”. It is time to dispense with the NIMBY attitude and do what is best for ALL of Lisle. I would suggest that this Board adjust to the reality of life in the Village and beg Meijer to build a both much needed and tax generating retail business on that still vacant property, NOW!
Thomas January 11, 2012 at 09:58 PM
I agree.
Thomas January 11, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The horse has probably left the barn as far as a new Meijer there as they have built other stores in the general vicinity over the last decade.
Uncle Buckeye January 12, 2012 at 12:24 AM
You may be correct Thomas but according to the article a Meijer spokesman told the Tribune in 2003 that they were still interested in developing the property. This sixty acre site is the ONLY remaining location in Lisle with the potential for any substantial retail development. The available lots along Ogden, as the ones along Route 53 are too shallow and have generated no interest of consequence. This is it; Lisle blows this opportunity and we are done. People in surrounding communities laugh at Lisle and our lack of strategic planning for our future. The attempt at a “Naperville like” downtown with its poorly planned parking has demonstrably failed. Those other towns may laugh at us but they welcome the tax dollars we are forced to contribute to their coffers. We have more than enough single family homes. Mixed use, just look at downtown Lisle: not working too well is it. No, if the Mayor and this Board value the future of Lisle they will get on their knees and beg Meijer to either build a store or find another retail occupant. We MUST broaden our tax base rather than continue to depend on our already exorbitant real estate taxes. The time is now …….
Mr.Ethics January 12, 2012 at 03:23 PM
A guy can't buy new shoes, shirts, pants, coats or even underwear in this village.
Karlie Baker (Editor) January 12, 2012 at 05:10 PM
This story was updated on Jan. 12 at 11:12 a.m. to incorporate comments from K. Hovnanian Homes.
Maria January 13, 2012 at 01:08 AM
It would appear that this builder is in the $150-250K market. I don't see how increasing the number of single family residences that are BELOW the average home value in Lisle is good for those of us that already live here. It can only result in lowering existing home values even further and increasing traffic. It would be so much better to see some real revenue generating (i.e retail) proposals for this property. Something that will increase property values and help lower our property taxes. I wonder if Lisle will be approving TIF #2 for a project on this property? I recall there was a TIF on the table when Meijer's was interesting in building in Lisle a decade ago...
Uncle Buckeye January 13, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Lisle spent it all having dumped FOURTEEN MILLION into some bricks, lamps, and a pond in an endeavor to bring Naperville to Lisle. Now Lisle voters must tell the Mayor and Village Board that development for the sake of development is not acceptable. Their work around to avoid a TIF district passage to literally build their failed "downtown" should be the sufficient to demand change. The Mayor and Board understood that Lisle MUST expand their tax base via retail businesses but apparently only if it didn’t bother Lisle's “Naperville” contingent. Time to tell Green Trails the party is over; time to suck it up and do what’s best for ALL OF LISLE! Tell the Mayor and Board no to more single-family homes. We cannot allow the sacrifice of Lisle’s limited PRIME RETAIL PROPERTY for the minimal tax impact of single-family homes. Too many years of doing nothing, time to finally do what is right for Lisle.
Deb Birenbaum January 16, 2012 at 03:19 PM
For those of you still on the Meijer bandwagon, you seem to forget the nonbinding referendum where a majority of Lisle redidents voted against a big box at the Maple Avenue location. The "no" votes came from all over the village and not just from those living near the development. I have a big problem putting a big box one block from an elementary school and no I do not have children attending that school. The home developer has chosen to share their plans before they start the formal process with the village. Perhaps they want feedback from those living in the surrounding area but the session is open to anyone who wants to attend. The developer did not have to extend this courtesy yet some of you see fit to criticize. For those of you that constantly bash the village, the mayor, the trustees, and complain that Lisle does not meet your needs because you cannot buy your underwear within the village limits, I have a question: why do you continue to live here?
Uncle Buckeye January 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Ms. Birenbaum: The “nonbinding” referendum you speak of with “nonbinding” being the operative word was passed by approximately 1200 votes from a population of at that time about 13,000 registered voters. Not overwhelming was it. Other than Aldi there has been no retail expansion in Lisle with sales tax dollars having done nothing but decline for the past 15 plus years. Given the economic realities of Lisle today, the five percent utility surtax and Mayor Broda’s talk of Lisle’s need for increased tax dollars you do know that vote would be much different if conducted now. According to the Buxton Group which was retained by the Village to provide professional input regarding retail direction, Meijer would have provided everything communities seek when trying to entice businesses. The well-being of the entire community would have been well served by the addition of the originally proposed Meijer - think substantial sales and property taxes, many permanent jobs, retaining local dollars and resident purchasing convenience! We have ALL heard the routine whining from Green Trails: “they” would be subjected to more traffic and the hubbub associated with retail business. You bought a home proximal to sixty vacant acres – did you really think it would always stay vacant? People own homes that front Maple Avenue and Route 53 and manage the traffic. And golly, a school two blocks away. Ever heard of assisted crossing Ms. Birenbaum? continued ...
Uncle Buckeye January 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Lisle doesn’t need to fill space, it needs TAX DOLLARS. Every surrounding community works hard, even providing inducements for new retail business except Lisle. When will Green Trails stop being so selfish and work toward accommodating the needs of ALL of Lisle. By the way Ms. Birenbaum I’ve lived in Lisle for 40 years and I never thought it would be condemned to remain a “retail desert”. You may not like it but it is not bashing to point out irrefutable fact.
Deb Birenbaum January 16, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Uncle Buckeye I have lived in Lisle for more than 55 years. I stayed in Lisle because of its residentual nature and I'm sure you will find many others did also. The property was zoned institutional and belonged to the college and we actually expected the college stadium to be build on that property which would have been fine. A 24 hour big box in the middle of a residentual area is not fine. Many people have expressed their dismay at the traffic on Maple Avenue due to the multiple fast food resturants. Many people avoid that area and do not want other areas to become congested. I invite you to drive through Lisle and look at the empty retail space available and then claim a Meijer will solve all of the Village's problems. It will not. In fact, many Lisle residents vowed not to shop there. As for a retail desert, yes it was a pain when there was no grocery store in Lisle and you had to travel to DG or Naperville. For the most part, Lisle was almost completely built out when you moved here. Where did you expect retail to go? How about in the middle of your subdivision? You seem to have a lot to say yet you are afraid to post using your name? Chances are you live no where near the area.
Maria January 17, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Remember that proposed massive industrial diesel engine testing facility with 162,000 gallons of fuel storage steps from schools, forest preserves and homes (didn't even have to cross a 4-lane road)...... You know that "back room deal" cooked up in illegal closed session meetings... "Project JANE" they called it. I wonder about "Lisle's Residential Nature"... Does that term only apply to Green Trails, or the entire Village?
Deb Birenbaum January 17, 2012 at 01:42 PM
For the record, I was against the above ground fuel storage and the massive testing and I made my views known. I also attended meetings at the library as well as a Chamber of Commerce meeting to get information on the project. I was against the original project because I would not want to live near it. I was not the only Green Trails resident at those meetings and I was not the only Green Trails resident to speak up against the original project.
Uncle Buckeye January 17, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Well Ms. Birenbaum if longevity in Lisle counts you win having apparently being born here given your age. I purchased my home just prior to the birth of my first child, selecting it because it had a relatively large corner lot just perfect for raising children: completely built out and blocks from any “busy streets”. I could have just as easily found something comparable in Downers Grove, Lombard or Woodridge, ALL of which have a “residential nature”. I planned but still found myself about one-half mile from I-355. I’ve adjusted just like those in Green Trails could to a big box store. The proposed Meijer was NOWHERE near the middle of a residential area. Already in place on TWO of the adjacent corners are large retail centers. There are only four MAJOR non-residential thoroughfares in Lisle and one of them is Maple Avenue! Yeah, choices for Lisle are limited. Obviously a big box store would not address all of Lisle’s problems but if you believe the experts from Buxton it would have provided a major impact not only on the quality of life and our “retail desert” but would have also helped address your “empty retail space” problem. For those people you said vowed to not shop Meijer: want to bet? Make a 50 minute shopping trip into a 10 minute one and see what happens. Golly, it’s even green - look at the reduced pollution from all those eliminated extra driving miles! continued ...
Uncle Buckeye January 17, 2012 at 07:45 PM
You know Ms. Birenbaum more credibility could be assigned your response if you had actually addressed the issues presented. A retail business at that location would be good for Lisle, ALL of Lisle both fiscally and in terms of life qualities. With all due respect Ms. Birenbaum why are Green Trail’s residents so selfish?
Jack January 18, 2012 at 12:18 AM
According to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, that property is not planned to be zoned for single family use. The only residential uses under the zoning classification (unless that property is annexed with changes to the Comprhensive Land Use Plan) are "Housing for currently enrolled college and/or university students and their dependents and for current college and/or university employees and their dependents."
D R January 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM
This would have been a great location for the new Mariano's grocery store that is planned for Wheaton. I guess there's no chance Meijer would sell to anyone who is a competitor in either grocery or general retail merchandise. That leaves Lisle stuck with more residential while the surrounding communities take in our sales tax dollars. I would shop in Lisle, but there is no where to shop.
George P January 18, 2012 at 04:14 AM
The Village of Lisle should take the property by eminent domain and permanently remove it from the tax rolls. Then they should build a big detention pond and call it "Praire Walk Pond 2." In the winter, they can build an ice rink there to drum up vast amount of sales tax revenue on purchases of hot chocolate. And Navistar, in the name of "education," (partnership with Benedictine) should build a big truck/MRAP test track and it will all comply with the public/institutional use on the comprehensive land use plan.
Mr.Ethics January 18, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Ms Birenbaum you really miss the point in asking why one continues to live in Lisle. As a 33 year resident, it would be nice to spend my money here in town and support local business enstead of giving the sales to Glen Ellyn, or Woodridge, etc. for the most basic items. Then maybe the Broda tax on utilities (a very regressive tax on our poorest citizens) could be eliminated.
Uncle Buckeye January 18, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Ah yes Jack, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan of 2004 fiasco; I remember it well. That process included the incorporation of Benedictine College land to permit the building of a cooperative lighted stadium complex. Prior to that “need” the Village Board suggested how irresponsible that would be since Benedictine would receive all the benefits of incorporation without paying any supportive real estate taxes. Ostensibly Lisle would become a shinning beacon for a multitude of state and national events. Hey, remember when we ran the Chicago Bandits out of town? I’m thinking that the Lisle taxpayer came out on the short end of that deal. Anyway, it was instructive to observe Lisle transition from a NIMBY to a BANANA community. Bottom line, if the zoning change requested by Meijer had been permitted we would not be saddled with as Mr. Ethics points out, the very regressive five percent utility tax, would have more local jobs available, have access to hundreds of thousands of sales tax dollars for the Village, have the convenience of comprehensive local shopping, while alerting other retailers and enticing them to take advantage of increased local shoppers, and even help stave off algores global warming BS with reduced gasoline consumption I don’t know about you but I fail to see a real down side to this scenario for LISLE! Could a bad decision be any more obvious? Yup, Lisle really screwed the pooch on this one.
Jane January 18, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I will never understand why Broda, Ed Young and Green Trails and CRADL all failed to lead, cooperate and negotiate a win-win compromise with Meijer rather than incur huge costs (both sides) to take the issue through the court system. All developers ask for the 'dream project' when they submit applications to a municipality and they expect to make changes to get approvals. Just look at how differently the neighbors on the northside compromised and negotiated with Navistar. No vacant building, more jobs in Lisle and no diesel engine testing and industrial operations. It can be done. The lack of leadership in Lisle is costing all Lisle taxpayers more. Lisle is raising property taxes again. Fewer residents, declining/aging population, yet higher taxes.
Jack January 18, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Jane, you are so right! David doesn't have to slay Goliath, just beat him up a bit! CRADL slayed Meijer - and Meijer in Lisle is dead; CHD beat up Navistar and now they are a better company for it!
Bill January 18, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Another missed opportunity for Lisle... http://glenellyn.patch.com/articles/construction-of-cinema-eatery-to-begin-next-month
Uncle Buckeye January 19, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Bill, as long as those 60 acres remains vacant there is a chance that something meaningful might be built there. And Jane, Meijer did attempt to ameliorate the objections posed by the residents and Board, such as planting trees as a buffer, but it was just never good enough. Meijer has an excellent reputation for being community friendly but apparently not sufficiently so for some of the pretentious Green Trails residents. Call and email the entire Village Board, the Mayor and the Village manager and tell them to end the foolishness and seek a remedy for Lisle’s "retail desert" with its declining sales tax dollars that they have perpetuated. Tell them to be proactive and actually MARKET a new "business friendly" Lisle. One would think them very receptive at this point given the failure of their “Naperville like” downtown. Just who builds a downtown with a fire station at its center anyway? I am confident there are retailers that will recognize the opportunity presented by a starved community anxious for the convenience of spending their dollars locally. Time to demand that Lisle free itself from the tyranny of Green Trails for the benefit of ALL of Lisle’s residents.
Maria January 23, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Feb 15, 2012 PZC Hearing - Application deadline Jan 18. March 21, 2012 PZC Hearing - Application deadline Feb 22.


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