Mundelein to be home to Ivanhoe Village, the first TND in Illinois

Hadyn Nuttall, Sports/Entertainment Editor

   Over the next 20 to 25 years residents of Mundelein will watch as a new neighborhood is built unlike any others in the state of Illinois. The Wirtz Corporation recently announced their project Ivanhoe Village, an annexation of 740 acres of their property on the western end of Mundelein. Over the next couple decades this farm that has been in the Wirtz family for hundreds of years will become Illinois’ first new urbanistic traditional neighborhood development (TND).

   Rather than just selling the land to a developer the Wirtz Corporation is moving forward with Ivanhoe Village, which is known as “a legacy project” according to Steve Lentz, Mayor of Mundelein. 

   Ivanhoe Village will be built using an urban planning concept called new urbanism. 

   “It’s a way of designing new communities to include some of the features that older, traditional urban communities had,” said urban planner Mary Jane Nirdlinger. “And so the main areas of focus tend to be a mix of housing types, walkable areas, putting parks and other green features close to everybody and accessible to everybody, and also having services within a walkable or bikeable distance.”

   Seaside, Florida, built in 1981, was the first new urbanistic community in the United States. Since then TNDs have been popping up in various places around the country. 

   “There’s been kind of that renaissance of it [new urbanism] since the 1980s and 1990s… architects have looked at trying to make better places or interesting places for people to be able to walk to things that they enjoy in their daily lives as opposed to getting into a car,” said Director of Community Development, Amanda Orenchuk.

   Ivanhoe Village is going to include several thousand residential units, industrial property and commercial property all contributing to the new urbanistic principles of a TND.

   “And it’s going to be all planned around a community that’s highly walkable and pedestrian friendly, and is environmentally as sustainable as communities can be nowadays that are built from scratch,” said Lentz. 

   Not only will Ivanhoe Village be a walkable living community, it’s a mixed-use community with commercial amenities as well. 

   “I think they’re going to have a central downtown area which would include some shopping where people could walk, coffee shops, places where you would want to leave your home and walk and go hang out,” said Lentz. 

   New urbanistic communities are appealing to homeowners and developers because of the walkability, social connection and public green spaces. 

   “I think socially there’s a desire to create spaces where people will come out of their houses and interact,” said Nirdlinger.

   It’s a new take on suburban living that incorporates what people like about urban areas into a suburban environment. 

   “It’s different from your traditional mass produced housing development where really the object is [focusing on] the inside spaces …and accommodating cars, said Orenchuk “[With new urbanism] the public realm is designed as the important elements of the neighborhood, but every piece of it is important and well thought through.”

   This is a big project for Mundelein as Lake County expands. 

   “We’re told that Lake County is short of housing for all the industry that we have. And so employers want there to be more housing so that their employees have more housing choices,” said Lentz.

   Because people are looking for a variety of housing types, the Wirtz Corporation is using their land to provide another option for people in Mundelein.

   “What I like about the Village of Mundelein is that we are open to all sorts of different kinds of housing types. And really if you want to live in a certain type of housing, you can find that type,” said Orenchuk.

   This development fits into the plans the Village of Mundelein has looked at for growth in the future.  

   “The village has always looked at the western growth area. That has been in our comprehensive plan for decades,” said Orenchuk, “The area has always seemed to lend itself to a mix of uses, primarily residential, but also to be able to accommodate some non-residential types of uses out there.”

   Moving forward this development will impact Mundelein with the introduction of new residents and businesses. 

   “It’s certainly a huge expansion for us. And so as a community, we’re going to definitely grow,” said Lentz. “In time as those houses come online we’ll have to expand our police and fire services to accommodate thousands of residents up there.”

   However, the Village of Mundelein does not have to absorb the entire cost of accommodating a new development. Like other new developments, an impact fee will be determined and paid by the developer

   Lentz stated, “Because you’re going to have all these people, you’re going to have to have more accommodations at the schools and for fire and police, as well as all the public works and the infrastructure you have to build. And so the developer then pays impact fees to accommodate all that.”

   Although this project is in the very early stages of planning, people are excited about where it will go as it moves forward. 

   “I think it will bring prestige to Mundelein as being home of the first new urbanistic TND in Illinois,” said Lentz. “I think it’ll bring a good reputation for us in that respect as well as to Lake County as well. This is a significant project and it will be very unique in terms of being environmentally friendly and on the cutting edge of urban planning.”

   Looking at the success of other TNDs, Mundelein and the Wirtz Corporation expect the same. When done right property values increase and TNDs become desirable places for people to live.

   “We are very excited about this. I think people are going to be super excited when they see this thing coming to fruition,” said Lentz, “In a state that is losing people. It’s nice to be in a town where we have shovels in the ground and we’re expanding.”