Trustees hit with expletive-laden tirade after rejecting proposal
BY LAURA PAVIN For Sun-Times Media | @LauraPavinNews October 8, 2013 2:50PM
Developer John Breuglemans' lakefront Promenade proposal was rejected Oct. 7 by the Lake Zurich Village Board. | Laura Pavin/For Sun-Times Medi
Updated: November 10, 2013 6:26AM
A meeting turned nasty Monday after Lake Zurich trustees rejected a proposal for the 66-unit, mixed-use lakefront Promenade development.
“I wish the village a lot of luck, naturally, but I must say one thing ... what is going on in the organization of your staff?” developer John Breugelmans asked the Village Board. “It is a disaster ...”
Mayor Tom Poynton attempted to stop the conversation, saying “I’m not going to let you bash the staff at this point.”
After an exchange between the mayor and developer, project supporter Greg Schwermer threw fuel onto the fire.
“You guys are a bunch of f---ing idiots. OK? I’ve owned property eight years in this village ... and all you guys ... you f--- everything up!” Schwermer screamed.
Again, Poynton tried cut off the conversation there.
“No, he is not out of order,” Breugelmans said. “He is speaking the right language ... because it is a f--- up ... you should be ashamed of trying to run a village like this, you are destroying it.”
The expletive-ridden discussion followed the board’s 4-2 vote against the project’s financing plan.
Targeting Lake Zurich’s Block A — the lakefront area bordered by West Main Street, Lake Street and Mionske Drive — Breuglemans’ proposal requested $1.5 million in land and real estate tax contributions from the village.
He told trustees that their investment would brings back $1.6 million in tax income within 10 years.
“Someone sees that and goes, ‘Well, jeez, 10 years, $1.6 million in revenue for the village ... it seems like it’s a good deal,’ but in actuality, those numbers may be a little skewed,” Trustee Jim Beaudoin said.
After consulting with community planning and economic consulting firms, village officials determined that Breugelmans’ estimates represented only the “absolute best case scenario.”
Breuglemans told trustees that his investment banker required a minimum return on investment of 8 percent to finance the project. He said he would pay back a portion of the subsidies after he surpassed the 8 percent, which he estimated would take four years.
The payoff, Breuglemans said, would be a revitalized downtown with a modern, four-story building offering retail on the first floor and residential units above. There would be a fountain in front and a raised terrace to provide a clear look at the lake. A community and exercise room was proposed to share the first floor with a restaurant, salon and spa, and a coffee shop.
Only trustees Jonathan Sprawka and Mark Loewes voted to move the proposal forward.
Sprawka, who was willing to negotiate further with Breugelmans, said he was focused on the big picture.
“This is something, if we want to develop Lake Zurich and improve it and provide the type of amenities that the community expects, we are going to have to put some skin in the game,” he said.
The vote, however, sent trustees back to the drawing board. The village will restart its formal process of requesting proposals from developers.