Bankrupt developer still plans huge project

By on May 29, 2009

Welch Fields delayed by Chapter 11, housing market
by Martha Quetsch
Kirk Homes still plans to build the 350-acre Welch Fields development in Elburn even though the company filed for bankruptcy May 13.

“We are not abandoning the project. We have put quite a bit of work and money into it,” Kirk Homes President John Carroll said. “But we will be a bit preoccupied for awhile with our (Chapter 11) reorganization plan, which is complex.”

Kirk Homes proposed the project six years ago for farmland along both sides of Route 38 just west of Route 47. The development plan includes commercial development and 950 residential units, including single-family homes, attached single-family dwellings, duplexes and townhomes.

So far, Kirk Homes has done preliminary engineering and plat planning for Welch Fields. Village officials and Kirk Homes representatives last met on Feb. 3 to discuss the Welch Fields project. Since then, the village has not received notice from the company regarding any changes in its plan to develop Welch Creek, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said.

It might be a few months or longer before the company pursues preliminary planning approval of the project from the Elburn Planning Commission, Carroll said.

Carroll is uncertain when the company will proceed with the next step-pre-annexation approval-because of the housing market decline.

Before the village annexes Welch Fields, Kirk Homes must agree to help pay for expanding Elburn’s wastewater treatment facility to service the additional homes it brings, village officials said.

“Getting our arms around the wastewater treatment contribution will be a big issue,” Carroll said. “We will work it out with village officials, it will just take time.”

Streamwood, Ill.-based Kirk Homes was founded in 1978 and has developed more than 50 neighborhoods in the Chicago area.