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updated: 10/23/2012 11:59 PM

Rolling Meadows hurries to spend TIF money

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The Rolling Meadows City Council voted Tuesday that the developer of the all-but-vacant shopping center on Kirchoff Road can allocate $720,000 in tax increment finance funds toward purchase costs.

The money is all that remains in the 1988 fund that will expire Dec. 31.

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In July Clark Street Development obtained title to the site, which features a store that has been vacant since Dominick's closed in 2004.

In September the council voted to give the developer TIF funds for "eligible costs," specifying as examples acquisition and environmental remediation. Since the environmental cleanup will not be completed by the end of the year, the council decided Tuesday that all the funds could go toward the acquisition costs.

After the meeting, Fritz Duda, a partner in Clark Street, said the company is working with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency on cleaning up an area that once held a dry cleaner. He said that is the only environmental problem that must be fixed.

He also said the company has started interior demolition at the center and hopes to begin signing tenants soon.

Alderman Brad Judd of Ward 4 asked that approval of the agreement be postponed until it could be rewritten to ensure environmental cleanup. He said he trusts Clark Street but believes previous developers in the city had obtained TIF funds and did not complete remediation.

Judd proposed adding to the agreement that BBC Kirchoff Land Inc., the Clark Street subsidiary that holds the title, must finish environmental remediation before selling the property or obtaining an occupancy permit.

Judd's proposal was rejected after Mayor Tom Rooney said he believes community development and banking processes provide adequate safeguards that environmental problems will be fixed.

The mayor was supported by City Attorney Jim Macholl. The attorney said there had been talk of putting the money in an escrow account until the cleanup was finished, but it was thought that could be a violation of TIF laws.

Developing the property is expected to cost $4.5 million, according to city documents, and the owners must return the $720,000 if an occupancy permit is not obtained by the end of 2015.

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