New TIF district proposed at shopping center corner that Elk Grove Village just bought

Elk Grove Village officials are planning to create a new tax-increment financing district at the northern entrance to town that includes an old shopping center and bowling alley the village just purchased.

The proposed 25.5-acre district would encompass the commercial properties on the southeast corner of Arlington Heights and Higgins roads, including the shopping plaza - the first such one to open in the village in 1959 - and Elk Grove Bowl, which is closing at the end of the month after 60 years.

The TIF district also would extend to six commercial properties on the north side of Higgins, from Arlington Heights Road to Gordon Street, and include a multi-tenant office building that's home to Mayor Craig Johnson's private insurance business.

The new TIF would abut one established in 2017 in conjunction with the redevelopment of the old Busse family farm into the Elk Grove Technology Park, thus putting the entire Higgins Road commercial corridor that runs through the village into one of the special taxing districts.

"We want to get this to be a catalyst now to redevelop that whole area," Johnson told representatives of local taxing bodies Thursday afternoon during a meeting to review the village's proposal.

The joint review board seats Johnson representing the village, the respective finance chiefs for Northwest Suburban High School District 214 and Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59, and Mark Pusateri as Johnson's appointed public member. It took a 4-0 nonbinding vote in support of the proposed Arlington/Higgins TIF redevelopment plan. Representatives of other taxing bodies, including Harper College, Elk Grove Park District, Elk Grove Township and Cook County, weren't present.

The advisory vote sets up a formal public hearing at 6:45 p.m. May 10, before the village board votes on a series of ordinances enacting the new district. TIF districts freeze property taxes paid to the local governments at their current levels for 23 years. Taxes collected above those levels from within the area will go into a special village fund to pay for redevelopment efforts, such as those proposed at the corner shopping center and bowling alley site.

The village paid $12.7 million for the properties in two separate deals last December, while announcing plans for a potential mixed-use development that would preserve as many of the retailers as possible and add a housing component.

Officials' early vision calls for a 250-unit apartment building of three to five stories on the bowling alley site closer to Arlington Heights Road, and a retail building along Higgins.

They've delayed sending out a request for proposals to developers until the new TIF can be enacted, as the special financing could serve as an incentive to pay for eligible project costs under state law, Johnson said.

A report by Camiros, Ltd., the village's TIF consultant, proposes redevelopment costs over the 23-year life of the district to be $33 million - of which $28 million would be for property assembly including acquisition, demolition, site prep, relocation and environmental remediation.

Johnson said he and officials decided to be "proactive" in guiding redevelopment of the corner when staffers in the engineering department last year got wind of a few groups that were interested in the bowling alley property.

"Once we heard a used car lot - not one, but two different used car lots - wanted to go there, that's not what we want in Elk Grove. That's not the picture when you come into our community. ... That's our golden corridor," Johnson said.

He said the request to developers would go out this summer, with the goal of picking one by the fall and having construction begin next year. It would be done in phases to allow businesses there to stay open - all of whom have said they want to stay.

That includes Jarosch Bakery, the second oldest business in town after Johnson Insurance Agency. Cookies from the popular family-owned bakery were on the sweet table at Thursday's meeting in a village hall conference room.

"Our goal is to save, if we can, every business. That's our goal," Johnson said. "If Jarosch goes, you'll see me hung by a light pole in this village."

Sale will mean closure of bowling alley

  Elk Grove Village's proposed tax-increment financing district would include commercial properties on the north side of Higgins Road, thereby putting the entire corridor that runs through the village into one of the village's special taxing districts. Mark Welsh/
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