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updated: 12/13/2011 5:34 PM

Glen Ellyn working to attract grocery store

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  • A high-end grocer, The Fresh Market, could be coming to the site of a vacant car dealership at 285 Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn.

       A high-end grocer, The Fresh Market, could be coming to the site of a vacant car dealership at 285 Roosevelt Road in Glen Ellyn.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

A high-end grocer could be coming to a space in Glen Ellyn where a shuttered car dealership sits.

The village is trying to secure the deal with an economic incentive package approved this week by the village board.

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Officials from the village and Glen Ellyn Economic Development Corporation have been talking with a developer interested in converting the former Packey Webb Dodge space at 285 Roosevelt Road into a $12.3 million, 32,000-square-foot retail center.

Called the Glen Ellyn Market, the commercial space would be anchored by The Fresh Market, which has locations in Geneva, Crystal Lake, Kildeer, Lake Forest and Wilmette.

The development would also include 10,000 square feet of additional retail space for two or more tenants.

Mike LaRue, a broker with the grocery store chain, said the store offers higher quality food and a larger breadth of choices than a typical grocery store. Prices are above Jewel or Dominick's, but below Whole Foods, he said.

It's believed The Fresh Market could be a direct competitor to the Mariano's Fresh Market, which is expected to open at the former Hubble Middle School site in Wheaton during the spring of 2013.

"We think The Fresh Market has an opportunity to be an anchor in the community, rather than just divvying up the pie," LaRue said during a village board meeting on Monday. "We want to cement our competitive posture in the community."

But, LaRue and developer Ryan Murphy of SRS Real Estate Partners said the deal might not work without financial assistance from the village, in order to make the 3.2-acre site competitive with what's available elsewhere.

The village will pay $793,000 up front to cover the costs of on-site improvements, such as regrading Taft Avenue, located a block north of Roosevelt Road. The village and developer also would enter into a sales tax sharing agreement based upon a 60 percent share for the village and 40 percent share for the developer. The developer's share is capped at $1 million, or whatever money is collected in a 10-year time period, whichever comes first.

Village officials estimate the village's upfront investment could be paid off in six or seven years.

Village Manager Mark Franz said the village and Glen Ellyn Economic Development Corporation have been "aggressively pursuing" a development project since Packey Webb closed the doors on its Dodge showroom in 2008. He said the project could be a catalyst for long-term redevelopment on Roosevelt Road, add to the local tax base, and capture dollars that might be leaving Glen Ellyn.

The grocery store is expected to generate 90 new jobs -- 54 of which would be full-time.

The last time Glen Ellyn gave economic incentives to developers was during the late 1990s. A $1 million incentive was provided for the Baker Hill retail center project, and $900,000 for the Pickwick Place project.

Negotiations continue between the grocer and developer, and a final decision on whether The Fresh Market will locate in Glen Ellyn is expected in the next few months. If so, officials estimate the store could be open by late next year.

The existing building is being used by Nicor while its facility on Finley Road is being reconstructed.

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