Arlington Heights will spend $45,860 on a study that would assess market conditions within the village's fourth tax increment financing district to determine the highest and best use of property.
In August, the village board first discussed hiring Ehlers Inc., a municipal financial adviser, to study the area that encompasses 35 acres near Golf and Arlington Heights roads. But trustees tabled a vote until the village staff could talk to the owners of the International Plaza shopping center on Golf Road to see if they'd entertain the idea of selling the property -- a proposition they've resisted for years.
On Monday, Village Manager Randy Recklaus said conversations between the village staff and a representative of the property owners had taken place.
"They've indicated they are ready to talk about next steps, whether it's a sale or redevelopment of the site," Recklaus said. "They very much appreciate this type of process where we're bringing in an outside consultant and we can work together on a solution versus bringing in an outside developer where they might have their own agenda."
Village officials' vision of redeveloping the area on the south side of town hasn't come to fruition, amid lawsuits that challenged the establishment of the TIF district coupled with economic recession and a lack of interest from retailers. A deal to build a SuperTarget store on the 13-acre International Plaza site also fell through.
When the TIF district was established in 2002, property taxes paid to local governments were frozen, and taxes collected above a set level started going to a special fund controlled by the village, intended for redevelopment projects. The village got the state legislature's approval for a 12-year extension of the TIF district in 2014.
Officials say they still want to pursue redevelopment of the area, as the clock continues to tick on the life of the TIF district.
To that end, the village board in June agreed to authorize negotiations with a developer that has proposed building free-standing Wendy's and Taco Bell restaurants on a 1.4-acre site the village owns on the northeast corner of Arlington Heights and Golf roads. The asking price is $1 million.
Officials say it will take the consultant six to eight weeks to complete its market analysis, with the goal of delivering a report to the village board by the end of the year.