Wilmette Village Trustees approved the purchase of the property at 611 Green Bay Road for $3.675 million.
The village bought the roughly one-acre parcel of land from Mitch Miller, Wilmette Village Center LLC’s owner, who sued the village last year when they denied him a permit that would allow Miller to put in a drive-through CVS drugstore. With the village’s approval to purchase this land, the year-long dispute and suit will be dropped.
“It gives the village control of a very key parcel of land that allows us to move forward with planning,” said Alan Swanson, village trustee.
The village views the property as a crucial piece to revitalizing the village center and a first step in the newly adopted comprehensive plan. The village would like to see the property turned into a multi-purpose space, both residential and commercial.
Village Trustee, Cameron Krueger pointed out that the purchase gives the village control of the land, which does not imply that the village intends to do any construction or demolition. Instead it says to developers, “we’re open for business,” said Krueger.
Not every trustee was pleased with the purchase. Trustee Mike Basil was disappointed to see the village acquire the land because of what he says were missteps by the board.
“I’m discouraged by the fact that we find ourselves in the situation of having to spend this much money to correct a problem that we created,” Basil said. Even though he was unhappy with what transpired between Miller and the village, Basil still voted to approve the purchase.
The village denied Mithcell the permit last year, ultimately striking down the CVS idea, but Michael Zimmerman, village corporate counsel, said the CVS was not the issue, it was the drive-thru.
“Given the vision that we have for village center I’d like to think that this is the right move,” Krueger said.