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posted: 10/9/2012 1:42 PM

Agreement near for Prospect Heights Ultra Foods

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  • Ultra Foods plans to open a store next year in Prospect Heights' long-vacant Dominick's.

       Ultra Foods plans to open a store next year in Prospect Heights' long-vacant Dominick's.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Prospect Heights is working on a sales tax sharing agreement for an Ultra Foods store that will open in this vacant space.

       Prospect Heights is working on a sales tax sharing agreement for an Ultra Foods store that will open in this vacant space.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 

A sales tax sharing agreement that would bring a new Ultra Foods Store into the old Dominick's that has been vacant at least eight years is expected to be approved at the next Prospect Heights City Council meeting, Mayor Nick Helmer said Monday.

The agreement, which would return to the store an average of 50 percent of its 1 percent local sales tax over 15 years, would give the city and the store at least $2.9 million each during that period, Helmer said.

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The agreement starts with 80 percent of the sales tax returned to the company the first year, with the advantage switching toward the village as the years progress.

The agreement was scheduled to be approved at Monday's city council meeting, but was changed to first reading only. It is expected to come up again Oct. 22.

Helmer said the city attorney has to work on the documents, and Ward 1 Alderman Luis Mendez had questions. Mendez questioned a clause that gave the mayor the right to make contract changes and also asked about the company's right to transfer the tax agreement.

The aldermen agreed that Helmer could approve only minor changes without council approval. And City Attorney Michael Zimmermann said SVT, the owner of Ultra, has limited rights to transfer the agreement to another grocery store if it closes its business.

"We're going to finish this agreement this month," said Helmer. "We've been laboring on it since March. It's a great thing for our city. Construction will take about seven months, and they hope to start work on the interior in November with an opening in early summer."

Improvements will include a new parking lot, roof and heating system, said the mayor.

The company, with 13 stores in the Chicago area, plans to put $13 million into the building and setting up the business, he said.

While sales tax income is Helmer's main incentive for luring business to the city, the store will also bring jobs to the Prospect Crossing shopping center.

The building is in the 1200 block of Rand Road, not far from the ALDI at 1432 E. Rand Road.

Although both are discount grocery stores, Helmer said he has no concerns that Ultra will hurt ALDI's sales.

"There are ALDI believers," he said. "The ALDI's is a very small, very specialized store."

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