Plans for Prairie View Plaza overhaul continue in Morton Grove
Prairie View Plaza shopping center in Morton Grove. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:23AM
More opportunities to learn about a plan to renovate a Morton Grove shopping center await anyone who is interested.
The Dempster/Waukegan Joint Review Board will meet at 10 a.m. April 26 to continue discussions about the proposed plan to redevelop the area roughly bounded by Sayre Avenue on the west, Prairie View Park on the north, the Cook County Forest Preserves on the east and Churchill Street on the south.
The review board comprises representatives of each of the taxing bodies affected by the creation of the Waukegan/Dempster Tax Increment Financing District.
Included on the board are representatives from the Morton Grove Public Library, as well as Golf School District 67.
Joint Review Board members are expected to review the timetable for the redevelopment project and to discuss the proposed next steps to implement it.
The meeting is open to the public.
The village will hold a public hearing on the TIF district plans at 7 p.m. April 30 at Village Hall, 6101 Capulina Ave.
The overall goals of the project are to reduce blight; establish a mixed-use commercial district that will include green space; reduce the number of vacant and obsolete properties and improve infrastructure.
The biggest project in the district would be the demolition and rebuilding in stages of the Prairie View Plaza shopping center, which has stood on the southeast corner of Dempster Street and Waukegan Road since the 1960s.
The center is home to a Dominick’s Finer Foods and a Bally Total Fitness/LA Fitness facility.
Plans are for Dominick’s to remain, possibly in a renovated space, and for the fitness club to close once its lease expires in November 2013.
Federal Construction has owned center since the early-1970s.
To improve traffic flow on Waukegan, south of Dempster, the new shopping center would be about 25 feet farther south than its current position on the roughly 25-acre piece property.
The project also would include raising the elevation of the property, which is on a 16-foot incline, to make it more visible to passers-by.
While the existing structure has about 350,000 square feet of commercial space, the new building would have about 295,000.
Alan Saposnik, the plaza’s property and development manager, said he would seek to fill the center with general-merchandise stores and possibly an electronics seller.
While the shopping center lies at the heart of the project, the TIF district also includes properties south, north and west of the center.
The two scheduled meetings are at least the fourth and fifth ones the village has held on the project.
In addition to a presentation at an Economic and Development Commission meeting, village trustees discussed the proposed TIF district project at a board meeting and at a public hearing.
According to the Illinois Tax Increment Association, in a tax increment financing district a base level of property- tax assessment is established, and increased revenues generated by increases in that assessed value due to expansions, improvements or new developments within the district are directed into a redevelopment fund, established and controlled by the municipality.
These funds then can be used for qualified redevelopment costs within the district, such as infrastructure improvements and other incentives.
The downside for other taxing bodies, unless otherwise negotiated, is a freeze on the amount of tax dollars received, as additional funds generated from increased property values are used to spur additional redevelopment in the TIF district.
Once the district is established it remains in effect for 23 years unless the municipality terminates it earlier or seeks state legislative approval to extend it.
Municipalities can use TIF revenues for redevelopment plans, property-assembly costs, financing costs, relocation and for as much as 30 percent of interest costs incurred by the developer.