An Ultra Foods store -- and about 200 jobs along with it -- is moving into a long vacant space in Prospect Heights' Prospect Crossing Shopping Center, city officials announced Monday night.
An incentive agreement bringing the grocer to Prospect Heights, reportedly struck just hours before the city council met Monday night, would end a long search to find a tenant for the 87,000-square-foot store on Rand Road left vacant when a Dominick's there closed in 2001.
"This is a giant step forward toward our future," Mayor Nicholas Helmer said.
Ultra, which has 13 stores in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana, plans to invest $13 million to improve the parking lot and renovate the store, which Helmer said is in "a pretty bad shape."
Under the 15-year incentive deal, Ultra Foods initially will receive a 72-percent rebate of revenue generated by a 1-percent sales tax, with the city collecting the remaining 28 percent. The percentages will slowly shift over the life of the deal, until the ratio is 50-50 within about 10 years.
The city expects to receive $2.9 million in sales tax revenue over the 15 years, said Helmer.
Negotiations between Ultra and the city have been going on since April, officials said, and the two sides struck the deal late Monday afternoon. Helmer expects the contract to be closed within the next 30 days and then it will go to the city council for possible approval.
Prospect Heights leaders thought they had filled the former Dominick's space in 2009 when they extended an incentive package to Meijer. A deal never materialized, however, after Meijer instead chose to locate in Niles.
Ultra may not be the only grocery store coming to Prospect Heights, Helmer said. Another chain is negotiating with the landlord of a 17,000-square-foot property in Palwaukee Center, at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Palatine Road, he said.
"Grocery stores and clothes shops are the key to sales tax income," Helmer said, adding that because the city does not have a property tax, sales taxes are its primary source of income.
"All this is happening because the word is out that we are open for businesses."