Flossmoor making bid for more retail development near Meijer

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Flossmoor making bid for more retail development near Meijer

August 26, 2016 - 13:35
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Flossmoor officials are working to attract developers
to land near the new Meijer superstore that they 
believe has potential for more retail development. 

(Photo by Tom Houlihan/H-F Chronicle)

Flossmoor’s Meijer superstore is sparking interest in further commercial development in the village’s southwest corner.

The village is taking steps to bring in developers who will add more retail along Vollmer Road and Crawford Avenue.

Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said this week that she and Mayor Paul Braun have been in contact with Chicago-area developers and they have responded positively to Flossmoor’s potential for retail development.

“They all see Meijer as a catalyst,” Wachtel told the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle.

The 192,000-square-foot Meijer store opened in June.  

Wachtel said the village continues to follow a “slow and steady” strategy to develop the area north of Vollmer between Crawford and Central Park Avenue. Flossmoor owns 26.4 acres north and east of the Meijer complex and is making a bid to acquire more property in the area.

At their Aug. 1 meeting, village board members voted to retain an attorney who is considered an expert in Cook County’s No Cash Bid program, which is designed to assist municipalities in acquiring title to tax-delinquent property.

According to the county, the program helps municipalities “transform parcels, through privately funded redevelopment and public works programs, into areas with new resources and an improved community environment.” Flossmoor hopes to acquire a handful of tax-delinquent parcels for little or no cost to the village.

Wachtel said developers are most interested in parcels where there are no remaining questions about ownership, and where they can begin their projects without any further delays.

“Property assemblage is huge for developers,” she said.

Village officials have also been meeting with Houseal Lavigne Associates, of Chicago, a consulting firm specializing in municipal economic development. The village board last December approved a contract with the firm, which will provide advisory services aimed at attracting the right developers to the village’s property.

Houseal Lavigne is working with Flossmoor to develop a bid package that will be submitted to prospective developers.

Village officials plan to tell developers “what we have and what we want,” Wachtel said this week.

“We want the property to be developed to its highest and best use,” she said.

Flossmoor has no plans to retain ownership of the land once developers are found. It will eventually be sold to developers, Wachtel said.

Village officials want the land developed for retail, restaurants and, perhaps, a “destination” business such as a cinema complex. “That might work on a portion of the property,” she said.

The village’s tentative plans for the property also call for two more detention ponds, an interior drive going east from the north end of the Meijer gas station and another entrance to the property off Vollmer Road.

Flossmoor officials are hopeful that the property acquisition will be completed in the next year and a developer will be on board shortly after that, Wachtel said.

Much of the land between Central Park and Crawford was part of Flossmoor’s former Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. During the 23-year TIF lifespan, funds were collected and used to install water mains, sewers, roads, underground utilities and other infrastructure improvements on the land. The TIF expired at the end of 2015.

Meijer plans to develop five more outlots on its property. Wachtel said she has heard from developers that plans for additional businesses locating on some of the outlots are moving ahead.