Rolling Meadows will employ help from a consultant in an effort to bring in new retail locations as the city looks to rebuild and move forward with the long-closed Dominick's property and other vacant properties in town.
The council approved an agreement Tuesday with Mike Mallon of Mallon & Associates Inc. for retail consulting services for the next six months at a cost of about $1,600 per month. Mallon will be paid out of the city's three existing tax increment financing districts.
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Mallon partnered with Goodman Williams in preparation of the Rolling Meadows downtown market analysis study prepared in 2010 to look at what kind of businesses would be a good fit for the Dominick's property along Kirchoff Road, which has been closed since 2004.
Some council members expressed concerns about spending money with no guarantee of results for Mallon's consulting services.
"Do we really need to spend money on this guy who hasn't done anything for us yet, even though we've paid him $30,000 already," said Alderman Mike Cannon, referencing the study done in 2010.
City Manager Barry Krumstok reassured the council that Mallon is well-known and has contacts in the retail industry that will benefit the city in the future. Mallon has previously worked with the city and has served as the state retail and operations chairs for the International Council of Shopping Centers.
The economic development committee, which Aldermen Larry Buske and John D'Astice are both members of, unanimously voted to recommend hiring Mallon at their June meeting.
"This is the guy we want," Buske said. "We can't just keep saying we hope this gets developed someday. We have to get our two feet in there and do something."
Alderman Brad Judd said he was also concerned about spending the money but would go along with it for the six months included in the contract.
"I'm comfortable spending this money for six months, but after that I'm going to look hard at what we gained out of the deal," Judd said. "Sometimes you've got to spend money to make money. I'll spend money for six months and see where it leads us from there."
D'Astice said if the city doesn't see results in the next six months, they will have the option not to renew Mallon's contract, but D'Astice said he is confident there will be some positive forward movement.