Lakemoor site a go for Woodman's grocery and other development

  • Woodman's Food Market Inc. has upheld a commitment to build a store at the southwest corner of routes 12 and 120 in Lakemoor, center left.

    Woodman's Food Market Inc. has upheld a commitment to build a store at the southwest corner of routes 12 and 120 in Lakemoor, center left. Courtesy of David Alarcon/Village of Lakemoor

  • Woodman's Food Market Inc. is proceeding with plans to develop a 74-acre parcel at the southwest corner routes 12 and 120 in Lakemoor.

      Woodman's Food Market Inc. is proceeding with plans to develop a 74-acre parcel at the southwest corner routes 12 and 120 in Lakemoor. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/21/2016 4:45 PM

Woodman's Food Market Inc. has restated its commitment to build a large grocery store and other businesses at a key corner in Lakemoor.

Village officials said the company board of directors on Friday, Nov. 18, approved the purchase and development of land at the southwest corner of routes 12 and 120, what is considered to be an important step for the small town's economic future.

 

Plans include a 240,000-square-foot grocery store and an on-site gas station with convenience store, car wash and quick lube center. The development has been three years in progress and includes space for other stores, though none have been named.

"It's a done deal," Mayor Todd Weihofen said. "We should have a development agreement signed by the end of the year." That would outline what's going to be developed and how it will be funded, among other details.

In February, Woodman's announced it had reached a tentative agreement to buy the long-vacant 74-acre property to build a store and develop the site, a purchase made possible by village designation of the area as a tax increment financing district.

Soon after, Wauconda Unit District 118, Wauconda Township and Wauconda Area Library sued the village, saying the area didn't qualify for the designation, which freezes property values for taxing purposes for 23 years. That proceeding has continued, with each side saying the other was dragging its feet.

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Dean Krone, an attorney representing the three entities, said he is expecting a "significant" number of additional documents from the village, and anticipates the parties will take depositions early next year. Village officials have said they have produced 5,000 pages of material.

As the land value increases with development, the additional tax known as an increment is put in a special fund to be used for road improvements and other costs associated with the development.

Opponents argue the site will develop without the incentive and millions of dollars in property taxes would be "wrongly" diverted for costs that should be borne by the village and developer. Lakemoor officials steadfastly have noted the corner has been idle for years and nothing would happen without an incentive.

The village offered to share sales tax with the entities but withdrew the offer Nov. 2. In a letter, Weihofen said details were being finalized and the village didn't feel it would be "advantageous to the solvency of the development to have potential settlement offers outstanding".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"At the rate it's going, the lawsuit will be settled after the grand opening," he said. "Obviously, we'd rather work with our neighbors."

He said village officials "never doubted" the plan would proceed and are working with Woodman's to secure the required approvals from the Illinois Department of Transportation and others to begin construction.

@dhmickzawislak

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