Mayor Krajewski called the Workshop meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Downers Grove to order at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Village Hall.
Present:Mayor Brian Krajewski; Commissioners Marilyn Schnell, Sue McConnell, Martin Tully, Mark Zabloudil, Ron Sandack, Stan Urban; Village Manager Riccardo Ginex; Village Attorney Enza Petrarca; Village Clerk April Holden
Visitors: Press: Kevin Stahr, Downers Grove Reporter Residents: Opus North Corporation: Joan Tunney; Jerry James (Edward R. James, Partners); Mike George (Mid America); Lucien Lagrange (LLA); John LaMotte (Lakota); Matt Nix; Randy Tieman; Peg Blanchard (Mid America); Priscilla Barclay; Henry Halboth; Peter Leoschke (Lucien Lagrange); Bob Cowhey (Cowhey, Gudmundson, Leder); Mike Balas (Edward R. James Partners; Steve Spinell (Edward R. James Partners); Barb Kading (Mid America); Cindy Fish (Fish Transportation Group); Lisa Lyon (URS TPAP ); Jack Crocker; Jeffrey Vicks
Centrum Properties: Howard Hirsch, Hirsch Associates; Tom Kane, Hirsch Associates; Arthur Slaven; Mary Koberstein; Dee Aspess
New England Builders: David Stamm, John Lahey (SBC); Tom Humes (SBC); Chris Rintz; Terry Sammend (JPA Real Estate); Jim Paul (JPA Real Estate); Joel Spalding; Lynne Kelley; Kathy Rintz
Alan Hultman; William Waldack, 1409 Willard Place; Marilynn Gerloff, 4241 Highland; Willis & Shirley Johnson, 846 Rogers; Dino Alexakos, Giordano’s; Ed Novak; Bob Rychlicki, Kane McKenna, 150 W. Wacker Drive, Chicago Staff: Dorin Fera, Traffic Manager, Public Works; Dave Van Vooren, Deputy Village Manager; Doug Kozlowski, Media & Marketing Director; Dave Barber, Director, Public Works; Mike Baker, Assistant Village Manager; Mike Millette, Assistant Director, Public Works; Joe Skach, Director, Planning & Community Development; Amanda Riordan, Planner; Kathy DesMarteau, Planning & Community Development; Keith Sbiral, Planner; Lori Sommers, Planner; Rita Trainor, Director, Financial Services; Brian Parks, Engineer, Public Works; Kent Adams, Battalion Chief, Fire Department
Mayor Krajewski explained that Council Workshop meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are video taped live and for later cable cast over cable channel 6.
The Workshop meeting is intended to provide Council and the public with an appropriate forum for informal discussion of any items intended for future Council consideration or just for general information. No formal action is taken at Workshop meetings.
The public is invited to attend and encouraged to comment or ask questions in an informal manner on any of the items being discussed or on any other subject. The agenda is created to provide a guideline for discussion.
The Mayor said there will be three presentations by developers selected through the RFP process.
Mayor Krajewski said before beginning the presentations he wanted to discuss a proposed revision to the sign ordinance moratorium. The Mayor said he and Commissioner Urban met on Tuesday with staff regarding Village owned property. Unrelated to this, the issue of the sign moratorium came up. A copy of a proposed revision to the sign moratorium has been distributed to the Council tonight. When the moratorium was put in place a number of Council members were concerned with neon signs. The Mayor said the Village has received a number of inquiries from businesses, including Mia Alexander, as well as sign makers that want to have signs that use neon gas to back-light opaque lettering. Under the moratorium, these signs are not permissible because the moratorium prohibits “any sign containing neon or other gas tubes” rather than specifically prohibiting only exposed neon signs. The Mayor said that proposed revisions to the sign ordinance will include backlit neon signs as permissible.
Commissioner McConnell asked if this is for signs or lighting that would outline a building.
Mike Baker , Assistant Village Manager, said exposed neon signs where the tubing is seen will still be prohibited. The backlit signs would be permissible. They use neon gas to cast a light behind opaque lettering.
Commissioner Sandack asked when the moratorium expires. Mr. Baker said it is in August 18, 2004. The plan would be to make a provision for the enclosed neon sign, but keep the moratorium in effect.
Commissioner Tully said this is a good change and consistent with the discussions held by the Plan Commission on the sign ordinance. He and Commissioner Sandack attended the Plan Commission meeting last night where this topic was discussed. Most people do not prefer the exposed neon.
1. Curtiss Block Presentations. Mayor Krajewski explained the process on the Curtiss Block Redevelopment Project. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was developed and 11 companies submitted qualifications. Three subsequently dropped out. Eight companies made presentations, four of who were chosen to submit proposals. One company has opted out of the process. Tonight the remaining three companies are making presentations. This is the initial stage of a long process to select a developer for this project. The order for tonight’s presentations was determined by a drawing. The Opus North Corporation is the first to present their proposal. Each developer will have 90 minutes with approximately 1 hour for the presentation and 20-30 minutes for questions.
Manager Ginex said the proposals will be on the Village’s website tomorrow morning. He advised people to access the site through www.downers.us and go to Economic Development.
Commissioner Tully said this is the first look at the developers’ conceptual ideas. No final decisions will be made tonight. This will be a long process and there will be opportunities for community input. He advised those present in the audience that they would have opportunities to ask questions at a later time.
Joe Skach , Director, Planning & Community Development, said video copies of the meeting would be available at the Library tomorrow as well as being rebroadcast on Cable Channel 6.
Opus North Corporation
Randy Tieman , Senior Vice-President of Opus North Corporation, introduced the members of his team. He said the team is made up of three principal firms: Opus, Edward R. James Partners, LLC and Mid-America Asset Management. They are also represented by Lucien Lagrange Architects; Lakota Group; Cowhey, Gudmundson, Leder, Ltd.; Fish Transportation Group; and URS -TPAP. Collectively they have 120 years of experience in real estate and have worked on a number of successful projects. Mr. Tieman said they have a high degree of interest and excitement in this project. He introduced Matt Nix to review the agenda.
Matt Nix , Opus North Corporation, said many critical elements have already been put in place by the Village including the creation of the TIF , the parking deck, the assemblage of parcels and the stated goals of the Village. He said the agenda tonight include goals, site planning, design, residential strategy, retail strategy, implementation and questions.
Mr. Nix said their proposal is balanced, dynamic, integrated and responsible. He outlined their objectives including a diverse mix of use, an amenity area for public events, traditional and contemporary architecture, providing a secure feeling with pedestrian friendly streetscape, and a positive contribution to the TIF .
John LaMotte , Lakota Group, referred to the 100% corner at Main and Burlington. He outlined the physical components of the proposal including the number of stories for each building, the central court inside the block, and the new street to be created. The proposal divided the area into four blocks with a traffic circle in the middle. It also sets the stage for a Civic Center campus. The east-west court would be quiet and allow for parking. The development would be made up of condominiums, townhouses, masonettes and retail establishments. They have created a public space where the streets could be closed off for Heritage Festival, arts shows, etc. He described the layout and potential buildings. The plan is to extend the existing streetscape and bring it into the site. The development would be four distinguished blocks.
Lucien Lagrange , architect, described the architecture of the buildings including setbacks to respect the existing architecture on Main Street. He showed renderings of three-level and six-level buildings, arches, etc. The ground floor of the development would be retail and designed like Main Street to have a great deal of diversity. He said they will use masonry materials but with diversity. The look would be contemporary with traditional materials. He showed renderings of the Burlington Avenue elevation with benches, lighting, and trees as well as renderings of the townhouse elevation, the illustrative site plan, and the ground floor plan including entrances to the parking and townhouse entrances. There would be no garage doors on the front of the buildings. He showed renderings of the upper level floor plans and outlined options. He said they want to be flexible and open with regard to the use of the space. The parking would be underground.
Jerry James , Edward R. James Partners, LLC , said his company has been in business for 55 years, spanning three generations. He said they try to tailor their projects to the needs of the community. They look for a balanced project that is diversified. The target market would be empty nesters, singles and young professionals.
The primary objectives are to provide quality architecture, design and finishes; provide a range of housing options; provide opportunities for customization; and to have functional operating agreements.
Mr. James said the project would consist of 136 residential units made up of 62 condominiums, 34 soft lofts, 8 masonettes and 32 townhouses. He depicted the various finishes.
Michael George , Mid-America Asset Management, Inc. said they are a real estate company in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. He outlined some of their projects. He said Downers Grove is a unique community. A ten-minute drive time analysis indicates there are approximately 233,000 people with an average household income of $95,000. He said major corridors built throughout the US in the 1960s and ‘70s as well as malls have caused downtowns to suffer and evaporate. Acquiring property allows downtown developments to occur.
Mr. George reviewed the key sites of the development. Retail would be positioned on Main Street, and anchor stores would be positioned on Main and Burlington as well as Burlington and Washington.
Mr. George provided the names of retailers he represents such as Borders Books, Crate & Barrel, Trader Joe’s, etc. Potential tenants include Talbots, Chico’s, Long Grove Confectionery, etc. He suggested a bookstore such as Borders or Barnes & Noble on the corner of Main & Burlington. He suggested specialty stores, restaurants and smaller retailers on Burlington. Moving east, he suggested destination-oriented shops such as camera, furniture, etc. At Burlington & Washington, he suggested a specialty grocer or destination-oriented anchor such as Restoration Hardware, etc. The proposal calls for 51,000 square feet of retail space to compliment what is already in the downtown area. He said the train station is a great addition to the development as development is occurring where there is a transit hub.
Mr. Nix said their team is ready, willing and able to move the process forward if selected. He reviewed the phasing of the project. There would be three phases of construction: The first phase would take 18 months; the second phase would start in 2006 and last for 15 months, and the third phase would be the Post Office property and 17 town homes to start in 2007. The project would be completed in 2008. He reiterated that this proposal is balanced, integrated, dynamic and responsible. It addresses the RFQ , the team has shared values and a proven track record, is committed, and would be creating a place, not just building a project.
Mayor Krajewski said Opus has assembled a great team. He said he was concerned with the aspect of the plan having to do with the Post Office as the Village does not own that property. He said the plan is symmetrical and includes the Post Office space and asked what would happen to the plan if the space could not be acquired. Regarding the retail space, the Mayor asked how many shops there could be.
Mr. George answered there would be 12-15 stores of which some would be national and some local. They would like to create something unique and different.
The Mayor said he would like to know the anchor stores coming into the development. The Mayor then asked if Opus has done a review of the stormwater.
Bob Cowhey , Cowhey, Gudmundson, Leder, Ltd., said they have. In further response to the Mayor, Mr. Cowhey said they would like to discuss the possibility of a fee in lieu of a vault.
The Mayor asked about how the 2.5% TIF rate was calculated. One of the representatives said it was based on past trends. The Mayor explained that due to construction in 1997-2000, the assessor down valued the properties. He said he thinks 2.5% is low. The Mayor said the financial analyses will be a major aspect of the proposals.
Mr. LaMotte said that with regard to the Post Office, they looked at a bigger area than what is presently owned. They would like to get a north/south street. If they are unsuccessful in acquiring the Post Office, they would buffer an area and pull the new street back a little.
Commissioner McConnell thanked the group for the materials and for the presentation. She said it is creative, she likes the concept of the central circle with retail on the outside. She likes the garages on the inside and also likes the masonettes. She said she thought the parking spaces were in order. She expressed concern about not putting any existing businesses out of business. The Village has a thriving bookstore in the downtown.
Commissioner McConnell said her questions relate to how much space is needed for this project. She said it appears that there are other parcels to be acquired and she does not know that she would want to be part of that acquisition. She said she was very impressed with the list of retailers.
Mr. Nix said he recognizes the challenges of the land acquisition. He said they took a broader look at the overall potential of the development but they realize there are limitations.
Commissioner McConnell said she recognizes that Opus has worked to make this project look less boxy, but it still feels boxy and big to her.
Commissioner Tully said he is excited to hear this and the other presentations. In regard to this proposal, he appreciates the time, attention and care taken with this and the RFQ . He said there are at least four parcels not yet acquired. He asked if there is a plan as to what could be done now. He also asked about the timing, and acquisition of properties and the Village’s use of eminent domain.
Mr. Nix said the financial analysis would address this. He said these matters can be better assessed once the developer is selected.
Mr. LaMotte said the proposal could be adjusted, but he does not feel much adjustment will be required. He said he felt they could work around the parcels that the Village does not own.
Commissioner Tully said there would be a net displacement of 45 parking spaces. He asked about plans to ameliorate the parking spaces lost.
Mr. LaMotte said the spaces required for the condominiums would be taken care of with the garages. With that, the additional parking inside the square, 75 spaces on the streets and the parking deck, he felt confident that the retail parking needs would be covered.
Commissioner Tully noted that the public space and public amenities are fantastic. The vision creates a downtown within the downtown. With regard to the retail, he asked how Opus plans to compliment what is already in the downtown as the Council wants to attract and retain retailers.
Mr. George said the focus would be on providing the best merchandising they can. It may be in conflict with existing businesses. He acknowledged that it is a challenge. He said it is very difficult to protect every retailer. He said a large bookstore may do 20,000 transactions a year and may actually compliment another bookstore. He said he does not think they can do their job if they are told they cannot work with a certain type of business.
Commissioner Urban said he will not comment on the proposals as he leases space in the downtown area.
Commissioner Schnell said her first impressions are that this is innovative, creative, presents a clean look and she said she liked the courtyard. She said the project feels massive. She said she would like to bring it down or figure out how to make it look less massive. She noted that the project has an aggressive timeline. She asked how they proposed to engage the public and work through the public process in the next six months as there is a need for a process to solicit resident and business comments.
Mr. LaMotte said they would need working sessions with the staff, they would want to meet jointly with the Council and the Plan Commission, and they would meet with the community. He said they would be ready to start right after Labor Day.
Commissioner Schnell said the project has open space, but not green space. She asked what percent is green space.
Mr. LaMotte said the idea was to create pockets. The project will be heavily landscaped. He said they will need to know the amount of open space the Council would like.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the plan to market this immediately.
Mr. George said from a retail standpoint, he would not have firm commitments in advance of having control of the property.
Commissioner Schnell asked about the marketing approach.
Mr. George said it is a personal approach with people in a position to make decisions regarding real estate.
Commissioner Sandack noted that this was an impressive presentation and showed due diligence.
Commissioner Zabloudil said it was a nice presentation. He said he would also like to see some plans for property acquisition.
Centrum Properties, Inc.
Arthur Slaven , Partner, Centrum Properties, thanked the Council for choosing them as one of the finalists. He said there were two areas he wanted to focus on – urban retail and infill move-up residential. He noted projects in the Chicago metropolitan area that he has worked on. He said this opportunity excites them. It is a high quality development that will bring new vitality to the downtown. He noted that it will improve current activity as well as create activity. He said the project can be accomplished very quickly as it will be done with the land available to them. He said he was proud of the open space in the plan.
Howard Hirsch , Hirsch Associates, provided an aerial view of the site. He said the proposal addresses the RFQ . The proposal has a sense of place, space and circulation. He showed a rendering of the site plan depicting a market square in the center of the project. He said they have had preliminary conversations with private property owners. The plan includes extending Highland Avenue to the new parking deck and a pedestrian link is proposed in the east-west direction. He outlined the phases of development as follows: Phase I would include three buildings and Market Square. He said Market Square could be used for fairs, etc. He showed a rendering of the street level plan and the parking below the street. Retail would include 16,500 square feet at the corner, 12,000 square feet along Market Square passageway. There would be residential units on Highland. On the second level there would be 20,000 square feet at the corner that could be used for either offices or as a second story of a retail business. Residential surrounds Market Square. The residential units would be a mix of 20% one-bedroom units, 30% one-bedroom plus den units, 30% two-bedroom units, and 20% two-bedroom plus den units. This range of products is attractive to young professionals, young couples and those who want to live downtown. It is a transit-hub development.
Mr. Hirsch showed an artist’s rendering of the building at Burlington Avenue and Main Street. Mr. Hirsch said stone and brick will be used to break up the size and the corners will be curved. It is a unique image that promotes the traffic flow. The rendering of Market Square depicted sloped roofs and ground floor retail. Mr. Hirsch said they are trying to create a strong image. The rendering of the Main Street passageway depicted small boutique-style retail businesses.
Phase II of the project is the eastern half. It has three buildings, D, E, & F, including a 4-5 story residential building and uses townhouses as a transition. Building D is a larger building and could be a restaurant. Parking would be available on two levels. An underground level would be accessed off of Curtiss. The second, third and fourth floors would be residential. The fifth floor is tucked into the roof of the building. There will be 80 dwelling units and parking for 105 cars. Mr. Hirsch showed renderings of the elevation and streetscape as well as variations in brick, stone, etc.
Overall, Mr. Hirsch said there would be 41,000 square feet of retail on the first level and 19,000 square feet on the second level. In terms of residential units, there would be 130 condominiums and 12 townhouses. There would be parking for one car per unit for residential with the rest for retailers. He said he believes the parking is adequate given the existing parking and the parking deck.
Mr. Slaven said he visited Downers Grove five years ago and saw this as a great opportunity then. There has been a major move back to downtowns all over the US.
Mayor Krajewski thanked Centrum for their presentation. He noted that this is a good team. He said the Curtiss Block project will be very competitive. He encouraged Centrum to fine-tune their financials. He said they are 1.5 points below the first developer in terms of bank lending rates.
Commissioner Zabloudil noted that this is an outstanding concept. He likes Market Square and the open space. He said it seems overwhelming in terms of five levels. He said he is familiar with many of their projects. He would expect there would be some adjustments if they were selected for the project.
Commissioner Sandack said he appreciates the hard work Centrum put into this proposal. He said he felt the architecture is very appropriate. He asked about the potential retailers at Main and Burlington.
Mr. Slaven said they would want a retailer to attract people to downtown Downers Grove. They would look for a specialty retailer attracted to the ambiance of downtown. He suggested a high quality restaurant such as Yardhouse. They would want a retailer that was busy during the day and evening. Another example would be a gourmet shop.
In response to Commissioner Sandack, Mr. Slaven said they have a retail partner. They pride themselves on being creative in terms of retail. He noted they work with brokerage firms as well.
Commissioner Schnell noted that this was a good presentation with considerable detail. She said she likes the concept and the green space. She asked how they would market the retail aspect and if they would be able to apprise the Council within six months as to whom the retailers would be.
Mr. Slaven said the most important credential in terms of attracting retailers is credibility, including a development that is realistic in scale and can be readily financed. He said they use public relations firms. They do their own marketing of residential sales with an in-house marketing team. It includes a live web site, extensive advertising, an on-site sales center, etc. He said the residential component is easier than retail. The project will get considerable publicity.
Commissioner Schnell asked how they would engage the public to get their opinion.
Mr. Slaven said this would be done through public hearings and public workshops.
Commissioner McConnell noted that the presentation was well prepared. She liked the general design and creativity. She said she likes Market Square and was looking for a pedestrian destination area. She also liked the east-west and north-south connection. She asked how this architecture would tie into the rest of the downtown and look like it belongs. She said she likes the parking behind the townhouses. She feels the scale is appropriate for the space. She said the parking for the condominiums is less than what others have presented and she wants to make sure everyone is comfortable with this. She asked about the rationale for having smaller condominiums.
Mr. Slaven said they decided on condominiums instead of townhouses due to the availability of land. He said condos are more suitable for urban development. The size is based on what is affordable.
Commissioner McConnell said she wants to be sure there is availability in terms of price ranges for the residential properties.
Commissioner Tully said he appreciated the presentations and the attention paid to the details of the RFP and RFQ . He said he also likes the east-west pedestrian walkway. He said the project creates amenities that benefit everyone. He asked about the parking spaces.
Mr. Hirsch said 205 parking spaces will be generated.
Commissioner Tully asked about the basis for the need for office space as this proposal includes a second level of 19,000 square feet of office space.
Mr. Slaven said it was not based on a market survey, but was based on a gut feeling. He said suburban office space is a lifestyle decision for some people.
Commissioner Tully asked about a contingency plan if anticipated acquisitions do not happen.
Mr. Slaven said he is confident they can get the key parcels they need.
Mayor Krajewski asked if the RFQ included office space.
Mr. Skach noted that it did.
The Mayor said our consultant of several years ago suggested the project include office, retail and residential space. The Mayor commented about the financials and asked if the team could provide expected total returns for the TIF after the project is done.
Mr. Slaven said his staff put enormous effort into this plan. He said this is not an enormous project in terms of revenue and scale but it is the kind of project they want to do.
New England Builders, Inc.
Chris Rintz , Executive Vice-President and CEO , New England Builders, thanked the Council for being selected as one of the finalists. He thanked the Planning & Community Development staff for their assistance as well. He also thanked Linda Kunze for her help in understanding how things work in Downers Grove.
He introduced his team from New England Builders, Inc., JPA Real Estate, and Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates Inc. He said this team has worked together for a long time.
Mr. Rintz said his team felt a different challenge in Downers Grove in that the streetscape is done, there is civic pride, restaurants, etc. He said this is a task for finishing the job rather than creating something. The Curtiss block needs to fit in with what is here. He said the design drove the density rather than the density driving the design. He said that “highest and best use” is a phrase often used, but he thinks it might be better to think in terms of the lowest and best use meaning the best use with the lowest impact.
Mr. Rintz said the goals for this project were to be pedestrian and resident friendly, avoid a canyon-like effect, maintain the cozy feel of Main Street, recognize that pedestrian comfort is more important than building scale, and provide variety in the overall architecture without being contrived. He said they want to use natural materials, not mimic materials. The team recognizes the organic growth of the project and the Village’s investment. They want to create value through a long-lasting product. Further, they are trying to accomplish these goals in less than four acres.
John Leahy , Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates Inc., said they looked at how this project makes the Village better and how this fits into the town. He showed a slide of the existing aerial. He said there are currently many smaller buildings in the downtown area. He said it is important to keep a scale that will fit in. He said they stayed within the limits of the site as depicted. He said one of the driving forces was the circulation of the parking deck to train station and parking deck to retail. They created an urban space with green space by creating a park. The retail would ring the project. The project consists of four buildings. Building #1 is three stories of retail and residential. Because it is a curved building, it provides a view of the Tivoli Theater. They are proposing bringing a one-way street, New Highland Avenue, through the project. Parking would be open to anybody. The park would be 175 feet wide at the north end. The street creates activity.
Building #2 is from New Highland to Washington. It consists of retail and two stories of residential. The building is divided into two parts.
Building #3 is in a quieter location. It consists of three stories of residential with underground parking.
Building #4 is an infill. It is a two-story building that consists of retail with loft style housing above it. It is sculpted to fit the space and emphasize retail. Mr. Leahy showed a slide depicting the current architecture in the downtown area. He showed a rendering of the view at Main and Burlington with a short building that opens up to green space.
Mr. Leahy then showed a slide of the view of the Village green from the train station. He said the shapes of the buildings have softness that adds character. He showed various renderings of the elevations of the buildings.
Mr. Rintz said that with regard to the floor plans of the units, they know the size of the units, but not specifics. Building #3 is an all luxury building with 18 units of 2,400 – 3,200 square feet. The other units would be 1,200 to 1,800 square feet. Both types of units use high quality finishes. They work with traditional, real materials.
Mr. Rintz said they are proposing a total of 72 units: 18 luxury, 46 traditional, 2 walk-up condominiums above the store space on Main, and 14 loft units. Prices would be from the low to mid $200,000 to $600,000.
Regarding the retail component, Mr. Rintz said they are proposing 35,000 square feet of retail space with 4,000 square feet on Main Street and the balance along Burlington. Building #1 is in a visible location and good for restaurants or lifestyle retail such as house wares. He said they would work hard to identify a flagship retailer to create a gateway into town. He said there is a great bookstore in town and other bookstore might be a hard sell. It might be difficult to get people to walk to Building #2; therefore, a destination-oriented business such as Mad Potter might be appropriate there. The additional space could be a boutique grocer or carved up into smaller spaces. Other considerations include Corner Bakery, Panera Bread, Noodles & Co., etc. Mr. Rintz said the Village has created an environment that is already successful.
In summary, Mr. Rintz said New England Builders are specialists in private/public ventures. They like to help people transform towns. They understand TIF , they have the capacity and are ready to start, their plan works in hard dollars, and they respond to the needs of the community. Mr. Rintz said he appreciated the Council’s time.
Mayor Krajewski said this was an outstanding presentation demonstrating thorough research. He noted that the Post Office is a 24-hour facility and suggested that this would need to be taken into consideration.
The Mayor said the Council is looking at design, density and financials. He said he appreciated the TIF analysis. He will ask all three developers to come back with financial information in the same format. He noted that the home rule sales tax has a sunset clause. He suggested they change their assumption to reflect that. The Mayor said he liked that fact that there are two scenarios, A and B, because in pulling out the net present value of the home rule sales tax in Plan A there is a negative net benefit. The Village has been assuming a positive net benefit for the development project. Scenario B addresses that.
Commissioner Zabloudil complimented the team on the quality of the presentation. They followed the RFP . He asked how the plan would change if additional parcels came available. He also said he would like more thought and discussion as to the types of retail to bring in.
Mr. Rintz said they are willing to work with other properties.
Commissioner Sandack said he was struck by the TIF analysis. He said they obviously did their homework and he appreciates their efforts.
Commissioner Schnell said the development looks like it fits in the community. Some people she knows feel Downers Grove lacks a luxury condo market and she feels there is a need for that. She said she appreciates being given a marketing plan. It is positive and pro-active. She asked how they would integrate the community in the development process.
Mr. Rintz said every community has its own way of doing things. They would get together with Planning & Community Development to develop a strategy.
Commissioner McConnell said they did an excellent job of hearing what the Council had to say and of getting a feel for the downtown. She liked the idea of curving the building into open space and the green space. She said she appreciates the recognition that this is finishing a job rather than creating a job. She asked about the parking ratio as it appears that the number of parking spaces provided in the proposal is greater than 1.5.
Mr. Rintz said 1.5 is the design criteria. They end up with extra spaces.
Regarding the alternative plan, Plan B, Commissioner McConnell said it looks like they have added a fourth story. She asked if the fourth story was on all of the buildings.
Mr. Rintz said it was. He said he tried to provide the alpha and the omega. Plan A is what they believe is the right project. He said adding a story changes the financials considerably. Adding a fourth floor makes parking tight. He said he is comfortable they can get the parking right.
Commissioner Tully added his appreciation to the others. He said they have obviously spent time here to get to know the community. He said he appreciates that they have taken multiple and competing perspectives and factors into account.* * He said it is nice to be presented with options and alternatives. He would like to see Scenario B and how that impacts height, esthetics, parking, etc. He asked about the total percentage of green space of both scenarios and the increase over existing green space. He also said he would like a timetable.
Mr. Rintz said they do not have information on environmental remediation, which has a huge impact on the timetable. He anticipated two or three months for the redevelopment agreement after which the financing would be finished. Assuming the remediation is done quickly he said they should be able to take down the first parcel in under a year.
Mayor Krajewski thanked the team for their presentation. He said this is the first step in a long process.
ATTORNEY ’S REPORT
Village Attorney Petrarca said next week’s meeting has been split into an Active agenda and a Workshop agenda. The Active Agenda consists of three items: 1) An ordinance amending a moratorium regarding the Sign Ordinance in the Village of Downers Grove; 2) An ordinance authorizing lot reconfiguration for the properties located at 6202-6248 Main Street and 6250 Main Street, Downers Grove, Illinois; and 3) An ordinance authorizing a special use at Walgreens, 63rd & Main Streets, to permit a drive-thru (Pharmacy) window operated in conjunction with a 14,500 square foot retail sales facility.
The Workshop would be conducted first, followed by the Council meeting.
There being no further discussion, the Workshop meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.
April K. Holden Village Clerk tmh