Plan is to stimulate proposals for vacant village-owned property

By Dave Fidlin


Village of Waterford officials this week set the stage in seeking outside developers for three specific locations the municipality owns or holds under contract.

The Village Board on Jan. 14 approved Village Administrator Zeke Jackson’s recommendation of soliciting requests for quotation, or RFQs, for the trio of properties, which include:

  • A 54-acre plot of land under the village’s ownership on Highway 36. The site, dubbed the Mercury Project Site, encompasses four separate parcels.
  • A 16.1-acre site, also owned by the village, located at the intersection of highways 164 and 36. The property contains two contiguous parcels. The property has been dubbed the Gemini Project Site.
  • A 55-acre plot of land, referred to as the Apollo Project Site, at the intersection of Buena Park Road and Barnes Drive. The site, which the village holds under contract, contains two contiguous parcels.

Based on tentative number crunching within village hall, Jackson said the fiscal impact to Waterford could be sizable in the long haul.

The trio of properties, he said, could bring up to $75 million in new development to the village over a 20-year span. The village anticipates using a tax incremental financing, or TIF, district to drive the planning process.

TIF is a mechanism that allows municipalities to borrow money for infrastructure improvements. The increased property tax revenue from the improved land is then diverted from the tax rolls to pay off the loan.

As noted in the approved RFQ documents, the village intends to transfer its rights to each of the three properties once developers have been tapped to occupy and build on them.

The plan in motion calls for interested developers to submit RFQs to the village by March 15.

In a memo, Jackson laid out the rationale for going the RFQ route in gauging interests for the trio of properties.

“Staff believes it is prudent to issue RFQ documents to various economic development agencies, real estate professionals and developers, in order to solicit proposals from qualified firms to develop the three sites,” Jackson wrote.

During the discussion at this week’s board meeting, elected officials weighed in on the plans.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Village President Don Houston said. “We should give everybody an opportunity. By doing this, we’ll give a lot more people a shot.”

Jackson informed the board he wanted to bring as many interested parties to the table as possible as the village considers residential, commercial and institutional land uses in the future.

“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it in way I think is the fair and right way,” Jackson said. “Let’s put this out there, regionally, statewide, nationally.”

During the discussion this week, board members stressed they hoped to have a diverse, inclusive process that results in a broad mix of developers interested in pursuing the three properties.

Jackson, in response, offered similar sentiments.

“Let’s get the conversation started,” he said. “We need to be aggressive.”