Flossmoor’s Meijer superstore isn’t scheduled to open until next spring or summer but developers are already contacting the village about possible retail projects adjacent to the Meijer complex.
Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said Friday that two developers have asked Flossmoor officials about retail possibilities near the Meijer store, currently under construction just north of Vollmer Road and east of Crawford Avenue.
The inquiries were very tentative, Wachtel said. Still, they can be seen as a sign of interest by developers now that the 192,000-square-foot store is being built.
Wachtel made the statement at the annual meeting of the Joint Review Board for Flossmoor’s Tax Increment Financing District (TIF), located in the village’s southwest corner. The board is composed of representatives from local taxing bodies that are expected to benefit from the TIF, including the village, Flossmoor School District 161, H-F High School District 233, Flossmoor Public Library, H-F Park District, Prairie State College and Rich Township.
Municipalities in Illinois are allowed to establish TIFs to revitalize underused land, especially for economic development purposes. TIFs allow cities and villages to re-invest all new property tax dollars in the neighborhood from which they came for a 23-year period. Property values are frozen during the TIF period, with new revenues being generated if there is new development in the district, or if property values go up. A special fund, with those revenues, can be used for new infrastructure in the TIF district and other expenses.
At the end of the 23-year period, the “increment,” representing the increase in property values during the TIF, is returned to the tax rolls.
That is about to happen in Flossmoor. The TIF period is due to expire at the end of 2015 and the village board, at its Dec. 21 meeting, is expected to approve an ordinance marking the end of the TIF.
By all accounts, the Flossmoor TIF is a major success. In many TIF districts, schools and other governmental units must wait for years before they realize the full tax value of commercial development. That will not be the case in Flossmoor, where local taxing bodies will likely start getting the full tax value from Meijer in a relatively short amount of time. Some property taxes from Meijer will probably be distributed next year and the full amount will be available starting in 2017.
Flossmoor officials have said that Meijer is expected to annually generate $250,000 in property taxes and $500,000 in sales tax for the village.
The Meijer store is likely to provide a windfall of sorely needed property taxes for both District 161 and the high school. Frances LaBella, District 161’s assistant superintendent for business, said Friday she would not hazard a guess as to the amount of property taxes from Meijer, but that it would be “significant.”
Wachtel said Meijer has been a nearly perfect partner in the TIF. The retailer and village have cooperated on projects that benefit both entities, such as the widening of Crawford Avenue near the store entrance and the extension of a water line to project from the Ballantrae neighborhood north of the retail complex. However, she added that Meijer asked for no financial incentives when it decided to build in Flossmoor.
“We’ve been spoiled by Meijer,” Wachtel said. Developers wishing to build adjacent to Meijer may ask for incentives and the village needs to be prepared for that possibility, she said.
Among the other topics discussed at Friday’s Board of Review meeting:
- Wachtel said she expects the TIF Fund, from which infrastructure costs and other related expenses are paid, will be nearly exhausted by the time work on the Meijer project is completed. Last April, the fund had a balance of $1,776,183. Since then, most of the balance has gone for the water and road work, and also the purchase of three privately-owned parcels within the TIF district.
- Meijer has invested $13.58 million in its Flossmoor project, according to a document submitted to the Illinois Comptroller’s office.
- The BP gas station at the corner of Vollmer and Crawford, closed for a couple of years, has a new owner and is expected to reopen by the end of the year. Meijer is also building its own gas station on the east side of the development.