Urban R2 Development recently received approval to develop the planned $100 million Wheeling Town Center in the northwest suburban Village of Wheeling.
The innovative mixed-use retail, commercial and residential project is targeted for a 19-acre site at Dundee Road and Northgate Parkway adjacent to Wheeling’s Metra train station.
The Wheeling Village Board approved plans for the project on Aug. 26. It is targeted for the former Wickes Furniture site along Dundee Road, which the village purchased for $3.7 million in 2008.
The plan calls for about 100,000 square feet of retail shops clustered around a Village Greenway that will serve as the focal point of the Town Center, said Brad Friedman, executive vice president of Urban R2 Development Company LLC. A 35,000-square-foot theater is planned as an anchor for the Town Center.
To finance and develop Wheeling Town Center, Urban R2 has joined forces with Marquette Companies in a joint-venture partnership. Marquette manages a portfolio of nearly 6,300 rental apartment units in 20 Chicago-area developments.
The Wheeling Town Center site is adjacent to the Aquatic Center, the Park District Facility, Village Hall and Heritage Park, which is undergoing a $38 million renovation plan.
“We wanted to give Wheeling residents a central gathering place that could host community events like art fairs, festivals and a farmers market,” Friedman said. The retail phase of Town Center will have parking for 777 cars.
Urban R2 has secured a letter of intent from their anchor tenant, a major theater venue that offers food and beverage service including hand crafted beers, breakfast, lunch and dinner options, Friedman said. The company also has also obtained letters of intent from restaurateur Glenn Keefer, Red Mango and other interested tenants.
The plan, which was co-created with the principals of RTKL Architects’ Chicago office, also calls for a five-story apartment building with about 300 luxury rental units and covered parking for 475 cars. The apartment phase will feature an amenity package that “will outshine the competing suburban apartment buildings,” Friedman noted.
Urban R2 expects to break ground on the Wheeling Town Center in the summer of 2014.
Gary Rosenberg, president and CEO of Urban R2, has a successful track record of embarking upon development projects that provide civic contributions balanced with marketable investment returns.
“Gary Rosenberg has always been focused on establishing meaningful relationships,” Friedman said. “We’re a small company and we want to work with good partners. That’s why the Wheeling project will ultimately be a success.”
Friedman said teaming up with Marquette and getting support from John Melaniphy, the new director of economic development at the village, are both “valuable relationships that will help us develop a town center that will provide a sense of community and stimulate economic growth.”