Developer Proposes Rent-to-Own Apartments
Buffalo Grove officials, nearby residents voice concerns.
Some residents and village officials are less than enthusiastic about a developer’s plans to construct affordable rent-to-own apartments beside luxury condominiums in the heart of Buffalo Grove.
During a pre-application conference Monday night, Thomas Brantley, a representative from Chicago-based G&A Construction and Development, outlined his proposal to build a 48-unit building composed of 16 one- two- and three-bedroom apartments at 105 N. Buffalo Grove Road.
The building would welcome renters for the first 15 years, during which time about 25 percent of tenants’ rent would be applied toward the purchase of the unit. After 15 years, the apartments would be converted into condominiums.
“Twenty years from now, you don’t have a 20-year old apartment complex. You have five-year owners,” Brantley said.
Tenants could opt to move out sooner; their entire payments would simply be considered rent.
Brantley would apply for Illinois Housing Development Authority funding for the project and set rent on about half of the units based on a percentage of household income. A tenant who earns $41,000 annually could rent a two-bedroom unit for about $840 per month, he said, while someone who makes $45,000 per year could rent a three-bedroom unit for $950.
The building would be constructed next to the Turnberry condominiums between St. Mary Church and the Buffalo Grove Town Center. Some current Turnberry residents attended Monday night’s meeting and voiced concerns about the proposal.
“We purchased our homes on the basis of two luxury buildings being constructed,” Linda Gannon, homeowners association president, said. “We’ve always been optimistic that another condominium building would be erected on the vacant site, and we welcome that.”
She said she fears the apartment plan will “devalue the neighborhood and drive property values into the ground.”
Other Turnberry residents expressed similar concerns, and the group broke into applause when trustees echoed their thoughts on a few aspects of the proposal.
“I’m very skeptical about this concept,” said Trustee Mike Terson, who asked how many of the original renters still live in rent-to-own buildings that Brantley built three years ago in Joliet.
Brantley said he was not sure.
“What I think we’re going to have in 15 years is an apartment building where nobody owns any condos,” Terson said.
Trustee Steve Trilling said he had a more open mind about the concept.
“I think there’s a need for this type of project … I’m not sure this is the right site for it,” he said.
Trustees encouraged the developer to engage with residents before pursuing the proposal. To proceed, the Village Board must refer the proposal to the Plan Commission, which would review an amendment to the existing development plan.
“You can either walk away from the project or file a petition,” Village President Jeff Braiman said.
Brantley said it’s unlikely that he’ll abandon his plan.
“We probably will [file a petition],” he said. “That’s our plan. It hasn’t changed.”
After addressing the board, Brantley offered to speak with Turnberry residents, who had gathered in the lobby of Village Hall. He acknowledged to Patch that selling them of the merits of his project could be an uphill battle.
“Some minds can’t be changed,” he said.