"The real value is in the land, not in the building," LeCoquetells GlobeSt.com. "This gives the village better control of theredevelopment process, and allows them to partner with a developerand have control over what is developed and the quality and mix ofuses. Their preference has been for a mix of residential andretail."

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The acquisition is expected to close by year's end. The villagebid on the site at an auction for the property held Nov. 10, and abankruptcy court affirmed Wheeling as the buyer this week. LeCoquesays the village's offer was the best price with the leastcontingencies presented at last week's auction.

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Wheeling's plan for the site reportedly centers around theconcept of a "Town Center" downtown area the village wants todevelop on Dundee Road. Within the next year, the villagereportedly envisions having a developer selected and constructionbegun on the site, which it hopes will include a nationally-knownretailer. However, LeCoque says any residential portion of thedevelopment may take significantly longer.

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"There's probably not going to be a lot happening there for awhile," LeCoque says. "This is the worst housing market in 100years. No one is buying homes and no one's going to be developinganything there for some time."

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