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updated: 8/26/2014 12:38 PM

Arlington Heights selects developer for troubled site

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  • Video: Developer for Golf Road TIF

  • International Plaza in Arlington Heights is part of a TIF District that may be redeveloped under a new developer recommended by the village board's committee of the whole Monday night.

      International Plaza in Arlington Heights is part of a TIF District that may be redeveloped under a new developer recommended by the village board's committee of the whole Monday night.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Arlington Heights has set its sights on a developer to plan redevelopment at Tax Increment Financing District 4, near the intersection of Golf and Arlington Heights roads and the International Plaza shopping center.

The village's committee of the whole Monday recommended approving a deal with Steve Leonard, who would be working with Strategic Real Estate, which specializes in shopping centers with national retailers, and Sterling Bay Companies, a developer in the Chicago area, to find tenants for the proposed development.

Leonard and the village had an agreement along with Target Corp. back in 2005, but the deal was terminated as the village fought several lawsuits challenging the TIF.

However, Arlington Heights eventually won those lawsuits and received a 12-year extension of the TIF from the surrounding taxing bodies that was approved by Gov. Pat Quinn earlier this month. Property taxes levied on the site that would go to those taxing bodies would be limited, while the remainder would go back into the development.

"Leonard has had interest for many years over this site and he has quite some staying power, as we've had many issues on this site over time," said Charles Witherington-Perkins, director of planning and community development.

Leonard would have 12 months, with the option of a three-month extension, to come up with a plan.

Developers said the project could require $19 million to $20 million in TIF funds, which some trustees questioned.

"I know with a development of this size, it's not simple," Trustee John Scaletta said . "But when I see numbers of that size, I sure hope there will be a development successful enough to pay for it."

According to a memo from Leonard, the "first choice for the anchor will be a grocer of some variety."

A preliminary concept drawing shows International Plaza being redeveloped into six larger retail spaces.

But Trustee Mike Sidor said he wanted something more exciting for the site.

"When I read this background of big-box stores, grocery stores, I'm yawning. I'm not excited," Sidor said. "I'd love to see something a little different that might bring people to town and be more of a destination than the typical big-box stores that you can see driving down the thoroughfare in any town."

Village officials and other trustees said that may be a difficult condition to impose.

"We haven't ruled anything in or out at this point," Perkins said. "The key is to make this corner economically viable again and generate sales tax that can help the village budget."

"I don't want to hamstring the developer and say we have to put something unique there. I want to see the highest, best use for this piece of property," Trustee Tom Glasgow agreed.

The village will vote on the measure at their next meeting Sept. 2.

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