Green Town Redevelopment Highlight to be
140 Room Hotel
Above, a rendering of what the Green Town Redevelopment project is to look like in downtown Waukegan. – Greater Waukegan Development Coalition
by Long Hwa-shu
A $120-million downtown Waukegan revitalization project with a 140-room hotel as its centerpiece will be presented Wednesday to the Waukegan Economic Development Advisory Board for approval as a first step to win the final nod from the City Council.
“This is a well-thought of project with real financing behind it,” said Michael Edgar, president of the non-profit Greater Waukegan Development Coalition and the man behind the ambitious project.
The project, if realized, will jumpstart real estate development in the area. – Michael Edgar
“We did our due diligence, and we have been working on this for quite some time,” added Edgar, an architect.
The project, called “Greentown Redevelopment”, will be built on sites on Sheridan Road at Washington Street. It will include residential, retail, restaurants and improvements to infrastructure at the lakefront to support expanded recreational facilities.
Asked why he believes that this project will fly after several previous projects have failed to take off, Edgar explained, “This one is more realistic, scaled down and therefore doable.”
Previous one in 2003, he pointed out was “just too big.”
Edgar explained that he has talked to brand-name hoteliers like Hilton and Hyatt about coming to Waukegan. “They have expressed on interest,” he said.
“We believe Waukegan is the only place with a livable, walkable urban community,” he said, pointing out its easy access to a deep water harbor, a rail system, parks, library, entertainment and arts.
The project, if realized, Edgar stressed, will jumpstart real estate development in the area. “The Greentown redevelopment project is just what this community needs in order to realize the full potential of Waukegan’s assets,” he said.
Financing, Edgar said, will come from local banks, investments from both domestic and foreign sources, basically from China. The project has received “a high level of interest from investment firms as part of the Department of Commerce’s Select USA program, which matches Foreign Direct Investments to the projects in the U.S.,” he said.
The area for the project, he added, will be designated by the city for Tax increment Financing(TIP), a public financing method used as a subsidiary for redevelopment in which future tax revenue increases in the area will be used for the project.