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Oak Lawn reaches agreement for TIF district development

By Laura Bollin

Oak Lawn officials are banking on the village’s tax increment financing district at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue to be completely redeveloped within the next five years.

Village trustees on Aug. 28 voted to approve an agreement with Hamilton Partners, a consulting firm that will seek out tenants for the special taxing district. Oak Lawn finance director Brian Hanigan said the redevelopment of the site at the northwest corner of the intersection will take five years.

The tax increment financing (TIF) district comprises 40 acres, of which Hamilton Partners will develop 22.3 acres owned by Oak Lawn. The total retail space at the site will be between 200,000 and 250,000 square feet, including a 70,000-square-foot anchor store for which the tenant has not been named.

Oak Lawn Trustee Tom Phelan is hopeful the development would be a good sales tax and real estate tax revenue generator for the village.

“Based on the development of that size and getting a mix of good stores and a big anchor tenant, we are hoping for $1 [million] to $1.5 million in combined [annual] retail and real estate sales tax revenues, which would be great,” Phelan said.

The Village Board last week saw a conceptual drawing of a possible redevelopment plan, which includes a park at the corner of 111th and Cicero, a pond traversed by a bridge, and restaurants and retailers, Phelan said. The trustee added that he would like to see a grocer there as well.

“I would like to see an open air center with a nice selection of restaurants and retailers, and a grocer, because there is a real need for another grocer,” Phelan said. “We’d like to get a Whole Foods or a Trader Joes in town, which is a very important focus.”

Hamilton Partners had “good leads and good potential tenants,” Phelan said, adding he is unable to reveal any possible store or restaurant names because of confidentiality agreements.

“Things can happen relatively quickly, but there’s no set timeframe,” Phelan said. “It could be as quick as a month or up to six months [to bring in tenants]. We may get one major player in; we may get five at once. The ball has just begun to roll on this project. There are a lot of moving parts at this point.”

Hamilton Partners will undertake all of the improvements within the TIF district. The village purchased the former Kmart and Dominick’s building, 111000 Cicero Ave., for $10.9 million. Kmart, which had been at that location for more than 30 years, closed in May as part of a plan by Sears to close 120 stores nationwide. The village has approved a $500,000 contract with Environmental Cleansing Corporation for the demolition of the building, which could begin in October.

The village created the TIF district in 2006 and in February 2009 paid $3 million for the Mansour Court portion of the site and $2.5 million for the Edgar Funeral Home building and property, 10900 S. Cicero Ave. Those parts of the tract will be developed into retail space. The the village is still working on a deal to acquire the Harley-Davidson property, 11040 S. Cicero Ave., at the corner of 111th and Cicero.