Woodstock continues to lay the groundwork for developments at the former Die Cast site downtown, approving what amounts to the outline of two redevelopment deals.
Investment groups from Utah and Wisconsin have expressed interest in developing the area. The city council opted on Tuesday to move forward with two “incentive resolutions”, allowing developers to track spending and analyze the site.
The resolutions are the second and third currently for the site, with the first approved in 2020 for a 116-unit apartment project, economic development director Garrett Anderson said.
Although the resolutions are the first steps in the development of the site, they do not yet constitute a formal agreement, the city documents say. That would come later.
“For years, we’ve been looking for someone to come to the Die Cast site,” council member Gordie Tebo said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It has been laggards, but now we actually have three people taking care of it. It’s pretty cool.
The deal shows the developer that the city might be interested, Anderson said.
“We just want to show some confidence that we know someone is working on this,” Anderson said Thursday. “Put simply, it starts the clock.”
The resolutions do not guarantee reimbursement, Anderson said. However, if something bigger develops, the costs associated with this first step could eventually be reimbursed.
“There are a lot of people interested in this area,” Anderson said.
While nothing has come of that original 2020 deal yet, Anderson said the developer is still talking to the city. Over the past year and a half, the developer has encountered supply chain issues, delaying any project.
There’s also enough land in the space for more than one of the developers to build on the site, Anderson said. Even if nothing is concrete. At this point, it’s not even clear what Tuesday’s two developers might build.
“For now, we’ll just continue to develop plans, assess the site,” he said. “We will work to get formal proposals on the table.”
The Illinois Auto-Lite auto parts plant site, where 1,500 people once worked making parts, was closed in the 1990s and demolished 25 years ago. Over the next few decades a large development, titled Woodstock Station, was planned. However, after the 2008 recession, the operation came to a halt after only 10 townhouse units were built.
The city opted in 2020 to purchase the site, totaling over 8 acres.
Construction in this part of downtown could be busy over the next few years. In addition to these three developers, Mayor Mike Turner has expressed interest in building a municipal pavilion in the area.