Mundelein officials narrowly approve controversial deal to lure Wal-Mart

Hoping to ensure the construction of Mundelein's first Wal-Mart, village officials have approved a tax-sharing deal with the owner of a local shopping center.

The pact with Ron Boorstein calls for the village to give his Oak Creek Plaza operation 50 percent of the sales-tax revenue generated by the stores in the shopping center, excluding the proposed Wal-Mart, for 20 years.

Village trustees approved the deal Monday in a 4-3 vote.

The village also will reimburse Boorstein up to $750,000 to move a section of the nearby Indian Creek. Moving the creek will create more room for retail operations, Mundelein officials have said.

Boorstein requested the financial incentives in exchange for bringing Wal-Mart - and its enormous employment and sales-tax potential - to town.

In return, Boorstein pledged to build a new, 20,000-square-foot retail building in the shopping center, which is on Route 60 east of Route 45. That building will be separate from the proposed Wal-Mart store.

Additionally, Boorstein agreed to give the village most of a nearby 13-acre piece of vacant land that once held a self-storage facility. That land will be used for rainwater detention and won't be developed, according to the deal.

The Wal-Mart corporation has proposed buying some of the shopping center property and opening a 178,000-square-foot superstore. Talks began in 2012.

A separate incentive agreement with Wal-Mart is pending, Village Administrator John Lobaito said.

The deal with Boorstein requires the retail giant to ink a real estate agreement with him by June 30, 2015, and then build a store within two years. If that doesn't happen, the proposal falls apart.

A previous draft set the sale deadline at Dec. 31, 2014.

"We want to close soon," Boorstein said. "We're accommodating Wal-Mart as much as we can."

Trustees Terri Voss and Robin Meier repeatedly have opposed a deal with Boorstein, accusing him of making unreasonable financial demands on the village.

They were joined Monday by Trustee Holly Kim, who explained she didn't like giving Boorstein and Wal-Mart more time to come to terms.

Trustees Ed Sullivan, Dawn Abernathy and Ray Semple voted in favor of the tax-sharing proposal. Mayor Steve Lentz broke the tie and voted to approve the deal.

Sullivan called Voss' and Meier's opposition to the deal "self-destructive" and compared it to jumping off a cliff.

After Voss and Meier objected to that characterization, Sullivan apologized.

The businesses in Oak Creek Plaza have struggled for years. Menards and Hobby Lobby were anchors, but both moved out.

The most visible tenants are stand-alone restaurants near Route 60, including a Pita Inn and a Culver's.

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  Ron Boorstein, owner of the Oak Creek Shopping Center in Mundelein, listens to the village board's discussion Monday. Trustees narrowly approved an incentive deal with Boorstein that could bring a Wal-Mart to town. Russell Lissau/
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