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updated: 6/23/2013 7:56 AM

Buffalo Grove approves Fresh Farms tax deal

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  • The Cambridge Commons shopping center in Buffalo Grove, where a Fresh Farms store is coming.

      The Cambridge Commons shopping center in Buffalo Grove, where a Fresh Farms store is coming.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer August 2012


The developer of the Cambridge Commons shopping center had a rough night before the Buffalo Grove village board last week.

Svigos Asset Management got approval for a modified incentive agreement to redevelop the property at the southeast corner of Buffalo Grove and Dundee roads, but the village board concurred with the zoning board of appeals that the new facade over the proposed Fresh Farms grocery store was too high.

And even as the board approved a $1.1 million incentive agreement, village officials complained to Nick Vittore, vice president of real estate for Svigos, about the inability to reach closure on the agreement.

"This hasn't been easy, as you know," Village President Jeffrey Braiman said. "This has been negotiated for probably over a year. And every time we get to a point where we think we have an agreement, something happens and we have to start negotiating again."

The deal calls for a 50-50 split of retail and local sales taxes between the village and the developer after reaching a threshold of $85,000 in sales taxes from Fresh Farms.

The original deal included Rogan's Shoes, but Rogan's is pulling out of the center and moving to another location in Buffalo Grove.

The modified 11-year agreement includes a tiered incentive. If, for instance, the developer generates $2.5 million or more in retail sales from the non-Fresh Farms portion of the development, the threshold will drop from $85,000 to $42,500.

And that would be reduced to zero if the developer generates $6 million or more in annual retail sales from the non-Fresh Farms portion or if the developer presents a signed lease from a liquor retailer occupying not less than 8,000 square feet in the center.

While the board approved the tax incentive deal, it was a different story with the height request.

The maximum height for the zoning district is 45 feet, but the proposed facade is 57 feet. The aim is to mirror the look of the Fresh Farms in Wheeling and hide the arched barrel roof of the existing building which once housed a Dominick's grocery store -- giving the center a fresh look, Vittore said.

One neighbor in the Cambridge on the Lake development to the east, Frank Sears, said the high facade would wreck his view.

"Our property is not around the corner, down the block or across the street. We're next door," he said. "It's important to us to preserve the views we have to the west."

Trustee Steven Trilling agreed the height was excessive. "This is really setting a new bar," he said.

While the majority of the board agreed with the zoning board's denial of the request, Trustee Michael Terson voted for the height, saying anything would be an improvement.

Of the development, he said, "It has looked tired to the point of narcolepsy for a long time."

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