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updated: 2/12/2014 12:06 AM

Batavia Walgreens vote set for next week

After 3 years, Batavia to decide on downtown replacement store

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  • The Batavia City Council will vote Monday on a redevelopment agreement that would provide financial aid to build a new Walgreens in the downtown, replacing the current store.

       The Batavia City Council will vote Monday on a redevelopment agreement that would provide financial aid to build a new Walgreens in the downtown, replacing the current store.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

 
 

After three years, the deal to get a replacement Walgreens store built in downtown Batavia is coming to a vote Monday.

The city council, meeting as a joint-committees-of-the-whole Tuesday, agreed to put the proposed redevelopment agreement on the agenda. Included in the contract are up to $1.143 million worth of financial incentives from the city.

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The vote was 9-3, with Alderman Steve Vasilion recusing himself from the discussion and Alderman Dave Brown absent. Aldermen Lucy Thelin Atac, Michael O'Brien and Lisa Clark voted no.

Alderman Susan Stark pushed to bring the vote after more than hour of discussion about the incentives, the store's profitability, and questions about parking spaces and the public's ability to use them.

"We bring up parking again. That ship has sailed. We talk about (zoning) variances. That ship has sailed. We're not here any more to talk about those things. We are here to be done with it," Stark said. "I just want to get this over and done with and move on to other projects."

O'Brien had asked early in the meeting to postpone the Feb. 17 vote, as he wanted more time to read the agreement, final details of which were submitted to the aldermen late Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Thelin Atac said the council had not discussed several zoning variations requested, including one for less parking than city law requires. In a complex setup involving a city lot and two lots the developer owns, 16 to 21 parking spaces would be eliminated. The properties don't have enough parking spaces now, by city standards. The new store would be built on the site of the former Swanson's Hardware/Prairie Path Bicycles store at 122 W. Wilson St., and Walgreens would move out of its current space in the strip mall just across the parking lot to the west. Batavia Enterprises owns both properties.

"Unless it (the new store) is done right, it may not increase in value over time," Thelin Atac said.

Alderman Alan Wolff said, however, that the committee had agreed to the variances, when it voted in December to set the incentive amount and directed city staff members to draw up the contract, which includes the variances.

The cash part of the incentives are coming from a tax-increment financing district fund for that area of downtown. TIF funds are supposed to be used on projects that increase the value of property within the district, in hopes that will lead to increased property taxes.

Some would be paid to developer Batavia Enterprises Inc. for various construction costs, in a lump sum. The remainder would be paid out in annual $65,000 installments. The developer will have to provide proof of actual spending to the city.

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