Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld, Mokena restaurant owner Jim Burke and HCF of Homewood developers Bob Hansen and Tim Flanagan stood on a vacant lot at the corner of Martin Avenue and Ridge Road. Holding shovels and wearing hard hats, they each dug up a piece of dirt and dropped it nearby, officially marking the start of construction for the Hartford Building.
Currently, the area is closed off with fencing. Construction is expected to begin on Monday, Dec. 20.
The new building will be four stories, include a second Stoney Point Grill location on the first floor and three floors of apartments.
Stoney Point Grill is a restaurant Burke owns in Mokena that he says has been there for 16 years. Burke described the restaurant as serving “American fare.” This includes steaks, upscale seafood, ribs, gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches and a “really good salad menu,” Burke said.
“After a great effort by both the village and the public at large, and the developers I represent, we have now begun the process of breaking ground on a four-story, multiuse building,” Flanagan said.
Hofeld described this as “a day long in coming,” in his speech. “I’d like to thank everyone that’s involved in the project – our entire staff and of course Tim Flanagan and his crew.”
The village started exploring the possibility of redeveloping the site, former home of the Triumph Building, in 2014.
In Flanagan’s speech, he echoed the sentiment that this day had finally arrived, and he thanked everyone for coming.
“We’re so far behind schedule. It would’ve been nice to have this yesterday when it was 60 degrees,” Flanagan joked. “We have our restaurant all in place. And yes, mayor, we’ll keep everybody posted. But I think you’ll all be proud to see — as the building gets erected, the excitement will start.”
“Construction should be completed late in the fall,” Flanagan said. “As soon as we go vertical, we’ll be able to pull the fences back and you’ll be able to get your sidewalk back. That shouldn’t take long at all.”
“I’m excited. We’re excited,” said Napoleon Haney, the new Homewood village manager. “This is a gamechanger for our downtown.”
About 20 people attended the groundbreaking, including developers, Homewood public works staff, other government officials, the Homewood police chief and members of the Homewood fire department.