Pizzeria settles feud with Elk Grove Village, will receive relocation assistance

Following a monthslong dispute with village hall, the owner of a long-standing Elk Grove Village pizzeria has inked an agreement that terminates her lease, but also provides funds for a possible relocation.

Munchies Pizza must be out of the village-owned building at 25 Turner Ave. by Oct. 1, but restaurateur Marie Altobello hopes she’ll find a new spot in town.

“Though we started this process with some differences of opinion, I am happy to announce that the village and Munchies have met and reached an agreement we believe is fair for everyone,” Altobello said in a joint statement with village officials. “With the assistance of the village’s relocation incentives, we are optimistic about the possibility of finding Munchies an affordable new home right here in Elk Grove Village, marking a new chapter in our journey.”

Under the deal, approved Tuesday night by the village board, Munchies will get everything officials offered last month: $80,000 to buy out the lease, a $2,100 security deposit, five months of free rent and waived licensing fees.

But what’s new — negotiated in recent weeks by Altobello, Mayor Craig Johnson and attorneys for both sides — is a rent subsidy for any new lease of property within village limits: a total of $45,000 paid over three years in six installments.

If Munchies doesn’t find another location, the business won’t get the extra subsidy, only the lease buyout.

“When they proposed the relocation, which we were fine with, they gave us the dollar amount they requested. We worked with the dollar amount they asked for. Everything came together,” Johnson said. “Our hope is they can find a place to relocate to and it can all work out.”

The dispute started in December when the village inked a purchase agreement for the 57,713-square-foot commercial building that’s home to Munchies.

Johnson began making lease buyout offers to the tenants — Turner Liquors, which has a lease until the end of the year, accepted a $15,000 deal; The Mixx Hair Salon, which has nine years left, got $250,000.

Altobello, who has run the pizza parlor on the south end of town since 1983, said the village’s original offer was not a fair recognition of her lease. The lease was valid through May 31, 2031, but village officials said otherwise since she signed her rent checks with the memo “month to month.”

After the village’s April 23 deadline to respond to its offer passed, both sides met a week later — the same day the village closed on its $675,000 purchase of the building.

Johnson said the potential rent incentive would be covered by Munchies’ license fees and video gambling and food taxes.

“I feel that’s fair to the taxpayer,” he said.

The village plans to tear down the building this fall due to its poor condition — which includes mold in some areas and an old roof — but officials haven’t announced plans for further redevelopment.

“We have nothing set for that area, but we’re preparing in case something down the road happens,” Johnson said.

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