A little more than six months after the completion of a controversial approval process, construction is underway on a new multi-family housing project in Shiloh, with plans to have the first of nine apartment buildings ready for lease by November.
The $26 million development dubbed “Thirteen01 at Hartman Lakes” was approved in December, despite the objections of neighbors.
The private, 216-unit project will feature three-level garden apartments with "large rooms and closets” and "great visibility" to Frank Scott Parkway and Hartman Lane, according O'Fallon-based developer Darrell Shelton, of Greenmount Retail Center LLC.
"We designed for what we think people are looking for today, especially young people. But by no means is it limited to millennials, as we hope to attract a wide spectrum of tenants," Shelton said.
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Developers originally came to the village in 2016 with plans for the Hartman Lakes development. However, it didn't get off the ground for another year due to a drop in housing demand following the loss of the new National Geospatial Intelligence Agency headquarters to St. Louis.
But the market has changed, Shelton said.
"We're excited to see that there is a desire for this kind of housing in the area, and hopefully, it will continue to go up," Shelton said.
Edwardsville-based Contegra Construction Co. is building the multi-family housing community. Glen Carbon-based Hurford Architects Inc. designed the project.
"One really neat thing is our floor plans are larger than that of some of our competition in the area, and there will be about 60 units with (detached) garages offered," Shelton said.
Balconies, as well as in-unit laundry rooms with washers and dryers will also be available.
The "very up-to-date" apartments will include "nice, high-end features,” like granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, as well as hard surface flooring, Shelton said.
"We wanted to create an attractive ambiance, and I think people are going to see that," Shelton said.
Other project amenities will include a clubhouse with a fitness room, a resort-style pool, gas grills, fire pit, walking trail and two lakes with fountains.
"We designed what we think is a high-end, beautiful and very functional and self-contained interior environment with the two lakes and walking trails that will wind through the whole development and also be lighted for resident safety," Shelton said. "The club house and swimming pool are going to be a great addition for people wanting to entertain or just relax."
The cost for an apartment will be $950 for one-bedroom and $1,250 for a two-bedroom units, according to Shelton.
2BResidential.com, the residential services division of Balke Brown Transwestern, is handling all of the leasing and management of the development.
The first phase of the project, which is slated to be finished by July 2019, will be on 17 acres at the northwest corner of Hartman Lane and Frank Scott Parkway.
The location was a point of contention for many residents at public hearings last winter. The list of concerns included worries over too much multi-family housing in the village, increased traffic and the potential influx of new students overcrowding local schools. Even the project’s landscaping plan drew the ire of some residents.
However, the Village Board passed zoning changes for the project, over the objections of neighbors, after developers pulled one variance request. Builders had wanted to use vinyl siding instead of brick on the apartment buildings. The board ultimately approved a compromise, letting the developer use a smaller amount of brick than would have otherwise been required.
"For the most part, people seem accepting of the project now, and I think some of the former issues, like type of siding and landscaping, have been addressed already," said Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier.
Jean Thouvenot, of 1410 Thouvenot Lane, was one of the original objectors who brought up concerns about aesthetics.
Thouvenot, who has lived on a property that has been in her family for more than 100 years, said she was given assurances from the developer’s representatives that landscaping would ensure screening so the parking lot and apartment building wouldn't be an eyesore from her property.
Shelton said: "The landscaping is going to be extraordinary and lush, with ample irrigation and sprinkler systems for the green space elements."
Thouvenot said she hopes that the developers keep their word, but only time will tell.
"I really don't have anything to say about it right now,” she said. “It's just a construction area, so it is what it is. And I can't really do anything about it, anyway. There's just a lot of movement with sewer work and building."
Though, she added, "I'm really glad they are using local contractors and subcontractors who do quality plumbing, electric, heating and cooling."
Vernier says he thinks the developer and Contegra are doing "amazing work."
"This is going to be nice option for more housing for people in and around Shiloh, especially for the large contingent of medical professionals increasing with the recent hospitals, not to mention the military individuals and their families in the area," he said.
The development is not in a tax increment financing district, Vernier said, so that will be "great" for O'Fallon Central School District 104, as well as the village, which should both benefit from new property taxes derived from the project.
The second phase of the development will include 120 villas on 38 acres and will be called, “Villas at Hartman Lakes.”
"The villas are aimed at older people or people who want a one-story house on a basement," Shelton said.
The final phase is planned as an 8-acre commercial area. However, it has not yet been rezoned as such.
Shelton said the commercial phase wouldn't probably happen for two or three years. It would be contingent on St. Clair County finishing the Frank Scott Connector — a five-lane expansion of Frank Scott Parkway.
St. Clair County Highway Department engineer Norm Etling said the connector project is progressing, but the final hurdle will be acquiring outside funding.
"We are guardedly optimistic for federal funding year 2020," Etling said.
In the meantime, sanitary sewer relocation and design engineering for the new road from Illinois 159 to Old Collinsville Road have been completed, Elting said. Other utility work is underway. Right-of-way for the 1-mile section has also been acquired.
The 2-mile section from Old Collinsville Road to Green Mount Road is under design, Etling said; however, design work for the portion from Green Mount Road to Cross Street has not yet begun.
"The developers of Hartman Lakes will be providing additional work on Hartman associated with their development," Etling said.
For more information visit www.1301HartmanLakes.com.