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updated: 9/17/2020 8:36 AM

Winfield’s president plans to veto downtown redevelopment deal with CDH

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  • Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital had won approval from Winfield to construct a parking deck west of the hospital along Winfield Road as the first part of a larger Town Center redevelopment. But the construction faces delays because Village President Erik Spande plans to veto the project.

    Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital had won approval from Winfield to construct a parking deck west of the hospital along Winfield Road as the first part of a larger Town Center redevelopment. But the construction faces delays because Village President Erik Spande plans to veto the project.
    Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

 
 

Winfield Village President Erik Spande is planning to veto a deal that would allow Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital to redevelop part of downtown.

The veto, expected to happen during Thursday's village board meeting, would apply to a downtown development agreement -- and associated ordinances -- between Winfield and the hospital. But village trustees appear to have a majority to override Spande's veto at a future meeting.

Spande was the lone vote of opposition during a Sept. 3 board meeting.

That's when a 4-to-1 majority of trustees voted to allow CDH to build a mixed-use, 833-space parking structure west of the hospital along Winfield Road. The board also gave CDH permission to begin construction on a 180-space surface parking lot just east of Church Street.

The projects are intended to be the start of CDH and Winfield's larger plan to transform part of Town Center south of the hospital into a medical and commercial district.

But two trustees, Phillip Mustes and James McCurdy, resigned in protest before the Sept. 3 vote (McCurdy also cited medical reasons for stepping down). Then on Friday, Spande issued a news release announcing his planned veto of the whole project.

Spande cited "last minute unilateral changes demanded by Northwestern Medicine that changed the development benefits from mutual to wholly favoring Northwestern Medicine." Spande also had concern that "the village will by contract give up all leverage that Northwestern Medicine will be able to change a warm and welcoming new Town Center we were promised in 2018 into a generic corporate office park."

Spande said it's important for the village to make sure the "look and feel is right."

"If they get it wrong, generations to come will drive by a generic steel and glass corporate office building and say, 'What were you thinking when you approved that?'" Spande said. "I don't want to have my name on that sort of grievous error."

Kevin Poorten, president of Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, said Wednesday in statement that hospital officials are pleased with the village board's approval of the Town Center development.

But they are "disappointed with the president's veto of a project that will have a positive impact on the village of Winfield and its residents for the next generation," Poorten said.

There's also much frustration among the Winfield trustees who are in favor of teaming with CDH for Town Center redevelopment.

"We have had seven years of negotiations with CDH and they keep falling apart at the last minute," Trustee Dennis Hogan said in a telephone interview. "This agreement is the only way we are going to get the area north of the tracks developed in Winfield."

Trustee Carl Sorgatz expressed concern about what he characterized as Spande's "diatribe in front of senior Northwestern management" during the Sept. 3 meeting.

"It would be devastating to this village if we lose this opportunity," Sorgatz said in a telephone interview. "Being the size that we are, there is no other developer who is going to step in and commit to the kind of development Northwestern is stepping up to here at this amount and level. What we don't want to see is that property sit vacant for years and years and years. It's extremely disingenuous for President Spande to hold this up."