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HOMER TOWNSHIP, IL-A 250,000-square-foot mixed-use development planned to be known as Twin Maples has been postponed indefinitely until economic stability increases. The development, which was expected to cost around $40 million to build, would have offered retail, restaurant, hotel and office space at the northeast corner of 159th St. and Gougar Rd.

The project was to be constructed on 40 acres of former farm land owned by Cathy and David Boo, and developed in conjunction with Champion Retail Associates LLC and Keystone Ventures LLC.

“Because of the way the economy and the retail market are, we’ve decided that right now a project of that magnitude is not warranted,” J.D. Salazar, managing principal with Champion, tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ve put that project on the back burner to revisit later this year, and see how the economy and local Chicago market are doing and make a decision at that point as to whether to pursue it. We’re not sure whether the project will be back on the front burner in 2009 or whether we’re looking at 2010 before we crank up development.”

When the project was first announced just under a year ago, construction was slated to have begun in early 2009. Developers had seen some interest in conversations with potential anchors and met with staff at the village of Homer Glen before deciding recently to postpone the project due to the rapid economic decline. Once work resumes on the development, the next step would be to reach back out to retailers which had previously expressed interest and resume the entitlement process with the village.

“We were looking and will continue to look for a higher-end retailer, something along the lines of a high-end furniture store, movie theater, health clubs or themed restaurant,” Salazar says. Plans provided for a two-phase project, the first portion of which would have completed 160,000 square feet of retail and construction of out lots. In total, construction would likely take about two-and-a-half years.

The property, which has visibility from the recently opened Interstate 355 extension, has been in Cathy Boo’s family for generations. “She realized the highest and best use for her property was no longer being a farm and that it was time for her to spend her energy crafting an eco-friendly development,” Salazar says. “She wanted to partner with developers that would buy into she and David’s vision for a nature-friendly development that uses the topography of the land and saves the old grove of trees on the property.”

The development was planned in the southwest suburbs, where Salazar says retailers are expanding rapidly. “There’s high traffic in that area already and this is the most logical location for a higher-end retail shopping center,” Salazar says. “It’s still a wonderful project. As soon as the economy and retail market comes back, that development is going to happen.”

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