Stores and restaurants could replace old village hall in Mundelein
An entrepreneur will buy Mundelein's old village hall for $1, raze it and construct a commercial building there, under a plan approved this week by the village board.
Developer Frank Dziadus also will receive more than $1 million in financial incentives from the village, including a large percentage of sales tax generated by stores, restaurants or other businesses that open at the downtown site.
Trustees on Monday voted 4-2 to approve the development deal with Dziadus, the president of a Mundelein company called Midwest Masonry. Trustees Robin Meier and Erich Schwenk cast the "no" votes.
Built in 1929 at 440 E. Hawley St., the old hall has stood vacant since a new one opened in 2014. The site is less than an acre in size.
Dziadus, of Long Grove, envisions a two-story, 22,950-square-foot building containing stores, restaurants and offices. Parking and rooftop patios are part of the concept, too.
Dziadus hopes to begin asbestos removal from the structure next week, and demolition will follow. Construction of the new building could begin this fall, Village Administrator John Lobaito said, and it could be ready for tenants next summer.
As part of the deal with the village, Dziadus will receive 75% of the village's portion of sales tax revenue generated by businesses in the building for 10 years starting when the first tenant takes occupancy. That's expected to total about $375,000 over the 10-year period, Lobaito said.
The pact doesn't specify a minimum or maximum amount.
Additionally, the board agreed to waive $161,575 in construction-related fees, such as those for water connection, building inspections and potential transportation impacts.
Also, Mundelein will reimburse Dziadus up to nearly $1.1 million for public improvements he completes, including sidewalks, street lighting and on-street parking areas.
Ownership of the property will revert to the village if certain deadlines aren't met or the project isn't completed, the deal states.
Meier supported Dziadus' redevelopment concept but criticized the package of financial incentives, saying trustees are giving too much away.
Those funds, she said, could be used on other municipal projects.
She also expressed concern that the sizable incentives will send the wrong message to other developers interested in doing work in Mundelein and change their expectations for development deals.
Schwenk was similarly concerned about setting a precedent for future redevelopment proposals.
But Mayor Steve Lentz said the incentives are worthwhile because the project could change the downtown area "in a dramatic fashion." He also said Dziadus is taking a financial risk on the project.
Furthermore, Lentz noted officials unsuccessfully tried for years to sell the property but couldn't find a buyer until Dziadus came along. The building, he said, was a fiscal liability.
"We couldn't give it away," he said.
Trustee Dawn Abernathy was among those who joined Lentz in defending the deal.
"This is a great development," she said. "This is where our money should be focused."
Mundelein has a history of luring developers to town with tax-sharing deals. Ulta Beauty and Jewel-Osco are among the companies benefiting from such agreements.