New hope for Spring Hill Mall? Sale to investment group, town collaboration could spark interest
There are new signs of hope for the beleaguered Spring Hill Mall site in West Dundee and Carpentersville.
A week after the 150-acre location was sold to an investment group -- and the same week Barnes & Noble announced it's relocating its Spring Hill Mall location to the Algonquin Commons Shopping Center in October -- Carpentersville and West Dundee officials have agreed to end their respective tax increment financing districts at the mall and create new TIF districts to spur development.
In a TIF district, property tax revenues that normally go to local taxing bodies are frozen at existing levels. Property tax revenues that come beyond those levels are used to finance improvements within the district. TIF districts typically expire after 23 years.
While Brookfield Properties' sale of the mall to Kohan Retail Investment Group is seen by local officials as a positive sign, the new collaboration between Carpentersville and West Dundee is another way for the villages to ease the path to redevelopment.
As part of the collaboration, the villages agreed to an "overlay district" at the mall with matching regulations for zoning, building codes and development standards. About 75% of the mall is in West Dundee and the remainder is in Carpentersville.
"It's never going to generate any revenue without significant redevelopment," said West Dundee Village Manager Joe Cavallaro. "And the only way you're going to get significant redevelopment is if you can start working cooperatively with a number of different tools."
Spring Hill Mall TIF districts were created in 2016 in each village. An equalized assessed value was set for each TIF district, and any property tax revenue received beyond those values went into a fund for site development.
The EAV on each TIF district, however, drastically declined in the last five years because so many stores have closed at the mall, including Macy's and Sears in 2020. West Dundee's EAV on the district has decreased to $2.5 million from $7.5 million, according to Cavallaro, while Carpentersville's dropped to $388,000 from $1.2 million, according to Village Manager Eric Johnson.
In the last year neither village received TIF money from the Spring Hill Mall districts.
The goal of creating new TIF districts is twofold: Establish a lower EAV so more TIF money can be generated, and expand the boundaries so a larger area is eligible for redevelopment.
"If we were to get a developer to come in with a larger project that spanned both districts, we can make it easier for them to navigate the process," Johnson said. "The hope is that by the two villages working together, we can come up with a better project."