By Natalie Terchek
The Roanoke Group, a California-based development group, plans to revive work on a failed 47-acre residential development in Lake Bluff it acquired last year. The group plans to push an even bigger project on the property than one its previous developer proposed.
Roanoke plans to build 96 single-family homes at Stonebridge of Lake Bluff, a luxury development on 136 Green Bay Road on the former estate of rail magnate William V. Kelley. Accordng to a memo prepared by the Lake Bluff Village Staff, Roanoke also plans to build out eight condominiums in Kelley’s former manor and coach house, which were both designed by noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw.
That project is larger than the previous plan the Lake Bluff Village Board approved in 2006, which called for 43 single-family homes, 28 duplex units and as many as 14 condos. According to ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com, the prior developer, a venture of Skokie-based New England Builders Inc., only build two model homes and a duplex before they were hit with a $32.5 million foreclosure suit in 2010. County records show that a venture led by Roanoke paid $8.27 million for the property.
“Any land development in this market is obviously difficult, but I think we have a real special opportunity in Lake Bluff, and I think we have an opportunity to do special things with this land,” Peter Kyte, Roanoke principal, said.
Discounted Prices Put Roanoke in a Good Position
According to Tracy Cross & Associates Inc., new-home sales in the suburbs increased by nearly 22 percent on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis in the third quarter from the same period last year.
Since Roanoke bought Stonebridge at a discounted price, they are in a much better position than the previous developers. Cross said New England Builders were asking for at least $1.2 million for its homes, while Kyte said prices for Roanoke’s homes (ranging from 1,610 to 4,848 square feet) will run from $475,000 to $1.5 million.
“You get two or three houses developed in the North Shore and the consumer response to those has been very strong,” Cross said. “We’ve told all our clients to get their feet in the starting blocks.”
Roanoke Development “More Traditional” Than Previous One
The New England Developers had an age restriction on the project, targeting buyers 55 and older to prevent the development’s impact on traffic and school enrollment. However, Roanoke will not use any age restrictions. Kyte has a vision of a “more traditional” development, eliminating cul-de-sacs to make more room for the homes without tightening their lot sizes. The project would also include a 10,000 square foot playground and more than 10 acres of open space.
“One of the reasons we want to be in this community is because the people care,” Kyte said. “The last piece of undeveloped property in Lake Bluff with this historical significance deserves this amount of attention.”
This proposal has yet to be approved by the Lake Bluff Village Board. A public hearing on this plan is scheduled for this evening on Wednesday, November 28.