Could affordable housing be installed on hotel sites in Glen Ellyn?

Now that Glen Ellyn has acquired hotel properties on Roosevelt Road, the village is taking additional steps to redevelop the long devastated area.

Next month, elected officials and real estate advisers hired last fall will hold a brainstorming session on the future of the site purchased by the village for $2.85 million.

Some village board members say they want to keep all development options open, but they are not starting from scratch.

“Certainly one of the options we will explore is affordable housing,” said village chairman Mark Senak.

Church leaders, community groups and parents of people with disabilities encouraged the village to bring affordable housing to the site of Budgetel Inn & Suites and America’s Best Value Inn between Roosevelt Road and Taft Avenue.

Proponents see a project in Elgin as a model for similar efforts to expand the supply of affordable housing in Glen Ellyn.

Senak said he met with representatives from Full Circle Communities and toured the Chicago nonprofit’s affordable housing development in the former Larkin Center in Elgin.

“Based on my discussions, this site is a very desirable location for an affordable housing developer,” Senak said of village-owned properties near Glen Ellyn’s Panfish Park. “It’s close to schools. It has access to transportation. There are three grocery stores within walking distance.”

Senak and other board members say they are always open to considering alternatives.

“Also, I think it would be unfair to catalog this process at the start and not allow for a broader discussion that would engage the whole community in what would be an appropriate use” for the land, Senak said during a board meeting before the village finalized the purchase of the hotel properties last week.

Leaders of several faith-based institutions in Glen Ellyn are strong supporters of affordable housing at the Roosevelt Road site, DuPage United members say. DuPage United, a nonprofit representing churches, synagogues, mosques, housing groups and other organizations in the area, worked with Full Circle Communities on promoting affordable housing.

Another supporter is Julie Evans, a mother from Glen Ellyn whose son has Down syndrome. Along with other local parents of adult children with developmental disabilities, Evans advocated for more affordable and supportive housing options for their children to remain in the Glen Ellyn community as they gain independence.

People with disabilities under the age of 65 made up about 4% of Glen Ellyn’s population, according to the latest census figures.

“Safe, pedestrian-friendly accommodation, accessible to public transport seven days a week and including on-site and individually designed support services is essential to their success,” Evans said in a message to the village council.

State mandates require that 10% of housing in each municipality be considered affordable. Glen Ellyn now meets that requirement, Senak said.

“If we were to pursue this option, it wouldn’t be because we were required to do so to comply with our legal obligations,” he said. On the contrary, he added, it would be because it was in the best interest of the community.

Senak said officials plan to involve school districts and residents early in the planning process. With this feedback, Savoy Consulting Group will sketch out five concept ideas. The village has also hired the Evanston-based company to recruit developers. A request for proposals is expected to be issued at the end of May.

Ideally, Senak would like to see the 1950s hotel buildings demolished by a developer, but he said officials needed to “remain flexible about the village’s contribution to this development”.

It is unclear how much it would cost the village to raze the hotel buildings, but the village’s assistant manager, Emily Rodman, put the figure at around $500,000.

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