Bloomingdale officials are considering the creation of a new tax that would help fund improvements to the Stratford Crossing shopping center.
In recent years, the center -- located on the southwest corner of Schick Road and Gary Avenue -- has seen tenants come and go. Village Administrator Martin Bourke said overall, the center is still "viable," but empty storefronts remain.
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By establishing a business district under state statute, tax revenues could be used toward the development of the center, which dates back to the mid-1990s, Bourke said.
"It's similar to a (tax increment financing district), but it does not involve property taxes or any kind of taking of revenues from underlying districts," he said. "It would result in a separate sales tax being created just for the district."
Money collected from that tax would fund improvements to the center, which could range from incentives to get new tenants to move in to infrastructure upgrades, such as new parking lot striping and lighting or changes to the center's facade.
"It's a way of having some public dollars go back into the center's improvement," Bourke said.
Village officials are hoping a decision can be made on the business district designation within the next three to six months.
In addition, the center's ownership group is still working to fill the old Dominick's store at 144 Gary Ave. Bourke said, however, that it is proving difficult.
"There's quite a few grocers around," he said, noting the Meijer at 130 Gary Ave., a Caputo's Fresh Market on Lake Street and a Jewel-Osco on Army Trail Road.
Aside from the closing of Dominick's a few months ago, there have been mostly favorable developments in the center during the last two years.
Early next month, a new Hobby Lobby is expected to open at 160 Gary Ave. Bourke said the 41,000-square-foot space was left empty by Sports Authority, which closed about four months ago.
Another positive change, he said, was the division of a building that once housed Circuit City at 152 Gary Ave. It has now been turned into a Party City, which opened last March, and a Planet Fitness, which opened this past December.
In 2012, Bourke added, a Buffalo Wild Wings did some major renovations to fill a spot at 140 Gary Ave. that was formerly occupied by Ruby Tuesday.
While Party City and Buffalo Wild Wings are welcomed additions because they generate retail sales, Bourke said the village is also pleased with the opening of Planet Fitness, as it is generating a lot of positive traffic at the center.