Developer mum about Keslinger Plaza’s future

By on October 9, 2009

Commercial property for sale, escrow account still delinquent
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Elburn officials are uncertain about whether a proposed commercial center at Route 47 and Keslinger Road they hoped would bring more retail stores and tax dollars to the village will ever be built, since the developer isn’t saying.

Developer Grobmar Investments President Ken Marino on Friday said, “I don’t want to comment,” when the Elburn Herald asked why the Keslinger Plaza property on the northwest corner is now for sale and whether the company still intended to develop it.

The Village Board last November approved Grobmar’s final plan for three of its four commercial lots at the corner, which included a bank facility and retail space. However, village officials told Marino that the company would have to maintain a $20,000 escrow account to proceed with the Keslinger Plaza development, to make sure village costs related to the project were covered.

In January, Marino indicated in a voicemail to the village that he did not intend to make the escrow payment, Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said.

A few months ago, Grobmar posted a for-sale sign on the property.

If Grobmar wants to proceed with Keslinger Plaza, it first must bring its escrow account balance up to the $20,000 amount required by village ordinance. The village previously required Grobmar to maintain a $10,000 balance, but doubled it last fall because the account was seriously delinquent, Morrison said.

When the Elburn Herald asked Marino Friday whether the company planned to submit the escrow money to the village in the future, he said, “I’m not going to get into it.”

Village officials notified Grobmar in a letter in May about escrow delinquency and the violation, encouraging the developer to comply with municipal ordinances so that Keslinger Plaza can be developed.

“We have heard nothing further,” Morrison said.

No tenants ever named for retail center
Since Grobmar Investments approached the village with its proposal for Keslinger Plaza more than two years ago, the company never identified any retail tenants that had signed on for the commercial center.

Grobmar negotiated unsuccessfully in 2007 with Castle Bank to open a facility at Keslinger Plaza; Castle officials instead plan to open a branch next to the new Walgreen’s in Elburn, at the northeast corner of Route 47 and Route 38. (See related story about the Walgreen’s complex)