ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 – 6:00 p.m.
Chamber Room – Countryside City Hall
1. Call to order
2. Roll Call: Ald. Sean McDermott, Chairman, Ald. James Jasinski, Ald. Karen Michalczyk, Treasurer Steven Jasinski, Adm. Gail Paul
3. Approval of Minutes – June 7, 2011.
4. Consideration to hire Specialty Contractors to complete site work for the entire 10 acre development with the City Engineer, Frank Novotny & Associates completing the engineering.
5. Review list of potential end users for remaining 8 acre development.
6. Presentation by Joe Lenoch, William Tell Holiday Inn, regarding Hotel/Motel tax rebate request.
7. Discussion of promoting the City through Tourism.
8. Consideration of renewing subscription to the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
9. Other Business.
10. Adjournment to executive session to discuss the sale of real estate.
COUNTRYSIDE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
TUESDAY, JULY 13, 2011 – 6:00 P. M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS – CITY HALL
Ald. Sean McDermott, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. He called the Roll of those physically present:
PRESENT: Ald. Sean McDermott, Chairman, City Admin. Gail Paul,Ald. Karen Michalczyk, Ald. James Jasinski,
ABSENT: Treas. Steve Jasinski.
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor Krzeminski, Clerk Sweeney, Ald. Pondelicek, Ald. Straza, Ald. Von Drasek, Asst. Admin. Peterson, CDP Swanson, City. Eng. Fitzgerald.
Approval of Minutes
The first order of business was approval of the Minutes of June 7, 2011. Ald. Michalczyk moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Ald. McDermott and carried by unanimous voice vote.
Consideration to hire Specialty Contractors to complete site work for the entire 10-acre development with City Engineer Frank Novotny & Associates completing the engineering.
City Admin. Paul stated that today was the official closing on the Harley Davidson property. Harley was concerned that site work would not be completed in a timely fashion and hired John O’Hara from Specialty Contractors. After a meeting and quick estimate, their site improvement costs were $600,000 less than Bradford. They are willing to enter into a sharing agreement to split the cost.
City Eng. Fitzgerald listed the reasons why developing the entire site simultaneously is beneficial to the City. In addition to potential economic savings, such considerations as site sequencing issues — (Harley may have possible limited access to Joliet Road); pavement elevation differentials – the Toyota property is one foot higher with a gradual slope at the Joliet Road frontage. There are loop coordination benefits of installing utilities for the entire site. Detention pond placement may pose potential problems if designating that land for other uses. The Harley-specific concerns are with dust control – separate phases will have a negative impact on marketing the other pads. Harley and the Joliet Road parcel may be considered Phase 1 and then market the other pads later. The City should consider approving the general concept and postpone contract negotiations until after the engineering is completed and exact figures are available, perhaps in two months. Ms. Paul stated that demolition and environmental work are separate bids going out tomorrow; bid opening is July 25. That will be revised once engineering is completed. All bids include demolishing buildings, removing asphalt and getting the sites ready for redevelopment.
Mayor Krzeminski stated he has just been made aware of these new proposals. The downside is that the entire development is locked into a specific conceptual plan. He is not in favor of waiving the bid process. He will discuss other plans in Executive Session. There are contractors in the City who are well qualified to bid on this project. Ald. McDermott stated that Item 9F on the Agenda re: waiving the bid process, will be tabled tonight and not voted upon.
Ald. Von Drasek stated that end users change on a regular basis. The advantage for the City is the economies of scale in comprehensive site development. The Mayor stated that the City may not have to develop the site.
Ms. Paul stated that the City doesn’t know the definite end users. Harley needs to be open in Spring; they want to get site work done in the Fall; also the other pads should be ready for Spring construction. If that doesn’t occur, it adds another year of delay. Every year the TIF runs is lost revenue. The City needs the engineering done and bring it back for review.
John O’Hara of Specialty Contractors stated developing the entire site makes sense re: terminus locations for water and sewer and reconfiguring utilities. The City must commit to site geometry for their own reasons – lighting, access and identity issues to be considered. Specialty Contractors is not seeking a contract and are willing to work in good faith with the engineer as a preconstruction service without compensation to get the Harley site completed. Mr. Fitzgerald stated he forgot to bring up the site geometry and thanked Mr. O’Hara for the reminder. Committee agreed to move forward in that direction.
Review list of Potential End Users for remaining 8-acre Development
Ms. Paul identified the current end users who are still interested in the development plus two car dealers. Westfield Ford is seeking possible expansion; they hope to bring in a new line. Phelan Dodge is still trying to bring in a new line but they need additional property. Both have been given a list of available sites for off-street parking. The other option is moving to a larger parcel.
Binny’s Beverage Depot looked at the Ethan Allen property; they are seeking substantial incentives to move in there. They have several ongoing projects and are not sure they could take on another project – without those incentives. One disadvantage of leaving Ethan Allen standing is that is the most logical placement for the road to go through. Another new entry is a microbrewery – related to the restaurant in LaGrange — Proscenio’s. They plan on opening a Craft beer at the old Tuscano’s in LaGrange.
Buffalo Wild Wings and Chase Bank are still interested; Chili’s, Chick Fil-A, Hooters, Sonic, Texas Roadhouse – 5 Guys (pizza) – they’re not stand alone and wish to be part of a strip. The list is for the committee to consider and provide direction. All agreed that the City doesn’t want the bank. Harley’s wants Hooters right there. Committee agreed on Proscenios, Texas Roadhouse – residents want sit down restaurants in Countryside and movement away from fast food establishments. Chick Fil-A is family owned/operated but closed on Sundays – that may be a drawback to consider. A planner will try to fit the pieces — some establishments may need larger square footage than others. The City is not in the leasing business; the priority is to purchase the properties. The brewery would like to work with the developer. Buffalo Wild Wings is too close to other stores. The Mayor asked about Dave & Buster – they didn’t call; they require a 30,000 s.f. building. Starbucks wants to be with others – an end unit with a drive thru. The Mayor called attention to IDOT’s presentation for the intersection of Joliet /LaGrange Road; there won’t be sufficient turning radius for trucks at the Shell location. The State will be taking 17 feet of all the LaGrange Road properties; Time Out will lose 17 feet; that is a major difference. Notice the new Hodgkins sign – it was designed with the new intersection in mind. No other comments. Ald. McDermott thanked Ms. Paul for doing an excellent job.
Presentation by Joe Lenoch, William Tell Holiday Inn, Regarding Hotel / Motel tax rebate payment
Mr. Lenoch is here to discuss revenue sharing for the hotel property similar to what was done for the Phelan property. He would like to follow that procedure in doing the same thing for the Holiday Inn. He presented a list of the final renovations made. Ms. Paul stated that at a previous meeting Mr. Lenoch stated that they would be converting the Best Western into the Holiday Inn Express; they have no funds to complete that renovation but they are seeking incentives for work that has been completed. There are outstanding bank loans for the last phase – there were three phases in 2004, 2007 and 2010 amounting to $7.5 to $8 million. They had to renovate to maintain the franchise with Holiday Inn – they are seeking the tax rebate for this work.
At the discussion re: the tax incentive Ms. Paul noted that Council may be receptive to something similar to what Phelan Dodge had. Dodge presented an itemized list of estimated costs for renovation and the City would rebate 50% of those costs over a period of time but also limited to 50% of the tax brought in Originally Ms. Paul had an estimated cost for the Best Western conversion to Holiday Inn Express. Deadlines passed; they weren’t able to do the conversion but would do work on the other wing. At present there is no plan to work on the other wing or the conversion. They are requesting a rebate for improvements that have already occurred at the Holiday Inn. The City would needs a legal opinion to verify if that can be done – tax incentives cannot be made retroactively; that is the concern. The City needs to get the legal opinion first.
Mr. Lenoch seeks a rebate of half the $1.8 million for work already completed; he could provide an affidavit, if needed. They do not have funds to complete the conversion. Ald. Von Drasek asked whether funds for the Route 66 closure applies to businesses directly affected. Mayor Krzeminski stated that the $40 million is for street improvements only. There is no compensation for lost business revenue. Ald. Straza stated that the loss of 5,000 cars traveling Joliet Road on a daily basis caused a severe loss of revenue. Council is supportive of the businesses in Countryside. Anything that the City can legally do will be done.
Ald. Straza suggested contacting DECA for possible funding through the State. The total amount of the tax sharing sought is $750,000.
Discussion of Promoting the City through Tourism Mayor Krzeminski is interested in promoting tourism in the City through the new logo stating Chicago’s Western Gateway. He suggested marketing the logo on tee shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc., to be sold at Dominicks,’ Walgreen’s, Jewel – for residents to purchase at cost. The entrance signs to the City should include the new logo. It’s important to advertise the City by incorporating unique branding. The Concerts in the Park and especially the Route 66 Scenic Byway should be promoted. He also suggested logo vehicle stickers with a four-year life span, rather than two years – Committee members stated that was tried in the past, was found too costly and the City recouped nothing. Ms. Paul suggested decals with the City logo that could be sold on the Web. The City could sponsor a gift shop at the William Tell to sell City items. The Mayor suggested tourist kiosks in hotel lobbies with links to major attractions and restaurants around the City. Mr. Lenoch stated that guests are usually seeking nearby services and some want fast food establishments. Technology is changing so fast that people can access the hotel sites through their I-phones and get the needed information. They have flat screen TVs throughout the hotel that advertise Holiday Inn; they could put a scroll in directing guests to the CBA website for all City businesses.
Consideration of Renewing Membership to the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway
CDP Mr. Bryan Swanson stated that as a planner the one aspect of Countryside that is gaining worldwide attention is Route 66. He believes that the City does not promote it enough; there is some signage along the route, but more can be done. Joining other communities in Illinois along Route 66 helps to promote each of those communities. This gives a broader spectrum of Countryside to visitors both domestically and internationally; being part of this organization will pay dividends. The City will be promoted on their Website, through literature, at conferences – and to attend Route 66 meetings such as the one being held tomorrow at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. Europeans are going to Harley Davidson, renting motorcycles and traveling down Route 66. Suggestion made to take a camera along and document the entire experience. The new logo has been put on the water tower. Route 66 is definitely increasing in popularity; the membership is only $300 annually. Countryside is featured in their magazines in the Visitors’ Centers along the way; it is a form of advertising. Route 66 is a real draw internationally. Committee decided to review the City’s membership in the organization.
Mayor Krzeminski suggested that the City try to get a wayside sign on the I-55 exit leading to Holiday Inn. Billboards on the Stevenson are a State issue; IDOT does not allow signs beyond a certain area. Mr. Lenoch stated that blue signs could be installed in Cook County if the City petitions it; if it is approved the sign may cost $5,000 per year. Committee approved the drafting of a letter petitioning IDOT to allow a blue informational sign for Holiday Inn.
There being no further business to discuss, Ald. Michalczyk moved to adjourn to Executive Session under Section 2Ac of the Open Meetings Act for the purpose of discussing real estate.
Chairman McDermott declared the meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
ALD. SEAN MCDERMOTT, CHAIRMAN