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GRAYSLAKE, IL-After nearly two years of talks, and decades of owning the property, The Alter Group has finalized its plans to build on a 650-acre plot here in Grayslake, IL. The mixed-use development will contain three million square feet of industrial, research and development, and office space; 500,000 square feet of retail space as well as a roughly 800 residences.

“Cornerstone is the kind of development that until now, we could only dream of,” Mayor Tim Perry says in a release about the project. “Too often developers paid lip service to mixed use or lifestyle projects but failed to deliver. Cornerstone is different and will offer the perfect antidote to tough times by infusing $750 million of investment to our community and bring jobs, infrastructure, retail development and balanced housing to one compact area. During a time of little development anywhere, Grayslake and all of Lake County are very fortunate to be the focus of such economic stimulus.”

The project, which is located west of Route 83, will begin construction later this year and will take nearly 12 years to complete. It is thought to be one of the largest master planned projects in the US. The Alter Group hopes to cut down on traffic and improve the environment by making Cornerstone a completely self-contained complex, allowing people to walk to work and to local retailers, since the residential components will be intermixed with the office and retail spaces.

“Cornerstone is conceived as a development of the future with a host of amenities for workers and residents alike,” says Steve Park, Alter Group SVP. “We have worked with Grayslake to annex the property explaining that this project will be balanced in every sense. We anticipate a public hearing to review the project in early 2009.”

To begin a project of this magnitude in the midst of an economic recession is something most companies are shying away from. But Alter Group executives say, “The average time of a recession is 16 months, so it is critical that Cornerstone undertake preconstruction and planning now.” Additionally, the Skokie-based firm hopes Cornerstone will prevent companies from moving North to Wisconsin and will convince them to remain in the state and relocate to Lake County.

Additionally, Cornerstone is expected to create 764 construction jobs. When complete Alter executives say the project will add 9,780 jobs directly in the 650-acre site, and 6,770 indirect jobs to the Lake County area.

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