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Mayor Seeks More Retail, Restaurant Space

With Borders and George’s What’s Cooking buildings becoming office buildings, ideas are sought to generate sales tax in Lake Cook corridor.

After two well known Deerfield properties left the sales tax rolls in the last few months, started seeking solutions at Monday’s Village Board meeting.

Frustrated that the former and the former will become medical office buildings, Rosenthal expressed a desire to see properties south of Lake Cook Road generate revenue to the Village.

Though Deerfield and the receive their share of property tax receipts, that real estate is located in Northfield Township with the bulk of the real estate revenue going to schools in Northbrook.

“In downtown we have a first-floor retail requirement otherwise it must be a special use” Rosenthal said Wednesday. “I’m not suggesting we do that in the Lake Cook corridor but we need to look at what we can do.”

Village Manager Kent Street told the mayor he and the staff would look at possibilities and make recommendations to the Board. One possibility is requiring a special use permit for buildings larger than a certain size.

“If we are faced with the loss of retail it will require the Plan Commission to look at what the possibilities are,” Street said Tuesday. “If there is value in it we would likely do it,” he added referring to non retail uses.

A number of non sales tax generating uses could bring customers to other stores and restaurants, according to Street. These would also be good possibilities. He anticipates having recommendations for the Board in May.

Gil Sharon April 05, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Tax "rolls", not "roles". The dictionary is your friend.
RB April 05, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Cut costs. Roll the Park District into the Village. I guess now is better than never, but it seems the wolf has already entered the hen house. The signs have been obvious for a while, why start planning just now? I could see that George's was located in Northfield Township, but was Borders also? Your article says "that property". Since the Village seems to react instead of taking a proactive stance, I suggest they look at PLANNING for less Sales Tax revenue. One way, combine some of the multiple taxing Districts. Get creative. Roll the Park District into the Village and cut out the excess. There is no reason for two different taxing entities in a Village this small. Over Governed, over spending.
MDG April 05, 2012 at 02:07 PM
There is a lot of empty retail space in Deerfield, especially in Deerfield Square. I've been a resident for 21 years and only shop at B&N, Walgreen's, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Chipotle and Trax. Am I alone?
RB April 05, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Village planning brought us to where we are, supposedly. So now, the Village needs to consider other ideas. The Car Wash and Robert York Road are examples of what the Village board is capable of screwing up. The road was supposed to become a through street and thus bring some life to that side of the development. For some reason, the Village closed the road off, killing that side of the development and adding traffic to Waukegan road. The other thing I never understood is when the a Board which is so concerned with the appearance of signs and such would allow a special use to build a car wash in the middle of town? Car washes don't pay sales tax, make noise and generally don't go in the middle of a new retail development. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice car wash but does not belong where it is. That, my friends, is the type governance we have. Roll the Park District into the Village, cut costs, rethink the planning of downtown, Cadwell Corners, Deerbrook 'Mall', and bring some life and nice retail to Deerfield.
Tom April 05, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Let's just remember that even if we completely disagree with our current "planning" or whatever - these people want the best for us. They live here too. And, someone on a commission has tons of work and no pay - they just want to contribute. Having said that, I think we need more huge stupid cardboard signs. Look at how good huge stupid signs have worked for Rosebud in Highland Park. Oh wait, no one would ever let that trash up Highland Park. Seriously... Seriously... What were they thinking. Does that draw in retail dollars?
RB April 05, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I agree about the sign issue outside Redbud. Tacky. Was that approved by the board? Oone hand we want to avoid that signage and the other we want to help retail that sign however is inappropriate. I'm not this is the case here , but thee are know instances of National Chains picking up and leaving while their lease is to expired. They continue today their lease, so no real motivation for Landlord to lease the space. Solving that issue could involve pressure by the Village and a development charge for cronic situations.
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 05, 2012 at 07:26 PM
A third vote ... tacky. However, it also screamed "desperate" to me. "Look at me!!!" There's better and more effective ways to do that.
barry April 05, 2012 at 08:03 PM
There has to be a reason why LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU, LEVY and other local major companies do not have a presence in Deerfield. Asking them why and Listening to what they say may offer some insight as to what needs to be corrected and changed. Unless no one wants to hear the answer, that is. We use to have a movie theatre in Deer brook, for those newcomers that may be unaware....AMAZING! In addition to the construction on lake cook road(seems like every year whether we need it or not) there MUST be other reasons why major players are avoiding obvious opportunities here in Deerfield. Lets find out what they are and fix them.
RB April 05, 2012 at 08:44 PM
The Village kept granting six month extensions to Honquest to run a closeout store in the old Barnes and Noble space. Honquest milked the board out of extensions and temporary sign permits. Then, they splt. During the final sales they were pushing orders for future delivery from other Honquest stores. Did they collect and report Deerfield Sales Tax on these sales? Just wondering. Now, the library takes the space. A huge space without any hope of sales tax revenue for years. Just saying.
John Russillo April 05, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I once talked to the manager of the Skokie Portillos and he said they wanted to come to Deerfield but Portillos has strict requirements for what their stores look like and Deerfield was unwilling to allow that building setup. I always thought the site of the old Rio Bravo or whatever it was across from Demitri's would be great for a Portillos.
RB April 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Chi chi's then On the Border, and they would be a great location for a Portillo's. What ever they want to do it would look better and generate more sales tax than what's there now (empty decaying building ).
Harry Steindler April 05, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I've not been involved in this sort of thing but it does seem that our entire village (especially the board) spends an incredible amount of energy on signage control and such. Last fall the board threw a fit about DHS athletics' intention to put up advertising boards on the baseball field outfield fencing - which is probably 800 feet from Waukegan Road. I don't know how our zoning rules, signage rules, etc compare to other north shore communities, but it could be an issue. The Lake Cook corridor lunch hour congestion (even without the construction) has to take away an incredible amount of lunch business from anyone trying to make it in that area. Not sure what can be done about that - I suppose the Village works with traffic engineers to figure that all out. Sounds like something that should be asked of our village leaders. By the way - I find our village leaders to be a pretty staid group - mainly LONG term residents - and very few newer residents seem interested in running for village board. I think it would be great to see a group of 30 and 40 somethings interested in making a difference in our village by seeking positions on the village board, park board, etc.
John Russillo April 05, 2012 at 10:14 PM
It's settled. You're running for the Village board and School board, Harry. And I think you should go clean up that nonsense over at the Library also.
Steve April 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I was just going to mention the same exact thing John. Portillos had a huge interest in putting a store in Deerfield at that abandoned building space near Demitri's. Perfect type of restaurant for the Deerfield community with ton's of revenue potential! Now the board is wondering how to make up sales tax revenue when the problem could have been solved if they were willing to work with good businesses.
John Russillo April 05, 2012 at 11:04 PM
It would be huge. Closest ones are Vernon Hills and Skokie. Drive-thru & take out business would be huge, too. This seems to be a big take-out community.
Carol Kraines April 05, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Dominick's wanted to build a store in Deerfield, on Lake Cook and Waukegan and the Board voted it down. Now that shopping area is a ghost town. Maybe they will reconsider.
Joe Nelson April 05, 2012 at 11:38 PM
What ever happened to a free market?
RB April 06, 2012 at 12:41 AM
The Costco in Mettawa is a pretty good example of how a Government turning down a company can result in the company going nearby instead. Costco went to Mettewa. I wonder if Lake Forest wishes for that sales tax revenue in the new economy? Portillo's makes sense for the old On The Boarder location. Another location is not nearby. How about the Village going after Portillo's? As far as Cadwell Corners, great potential- never developed right. When Barnes and Noble was there, I believe they were paid to break their lease and move downtown. Across the street from Downtown prime source center (are they there any longer) was able to fill office space and limited parking in front of what little retail that was in the center. He took parking spaces near the retail and tagged them as office worker parking. That made no sense and ultimately hurt some of the first restaurants and retail in the center. Another example of the Village focusing on allowing the wrong things. Look at the stores in that center. You don't enter most of them from waukegan road, you see the back doors. The only way to build a friendly multi use downtown is to make it look and act like a downtown and help retail. Locally lost retail over the years....Great Indoors, Borders, Chi Chis, On the Boarder, chilis, baja grill, George's what's cooking, Baker, clothing stores, old country buffet...on and on. It's time to do something.
Bringin' Down Briarwood April 06, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Since we're throwing out ideas, let me throw out the game changer. After all, it's the Internet. If you can't throw out a wacky rumor here, where can you do it? Mr. Street, if you're reading this, the place to start is with the movies theaters down Lake Cook Rd. I had a reasonably reliable source who deals with that mall tell me recently that the theaters are going to be replaced with retail. Now before you continue, I agree with you: I'm very skeptical about that info. If it's true, it has to be one of the dumbest decisions in a long time. But this guy recently worked with some changes at the mall, so I have a slight bit of confidence in his info. I assume confirming this would take 3-4 phone calls. If true, then the next call is to the mayor to begin working with the developer and theater owners on a Deerbrook theater of some sort? As for some restaurants, can we get a Portillo's then start getting something original? The city is flooded with the hottest chefs in the country. Half of them want to use locally grown products. Where is it easier to receive locally grown goods? In the city or three minutes off of 294 or 94? A couple bars downtown ... A small, struggling theater ... galleries ... a theater that shows "art" films ... a place for jazz ... a place for good local bands. Put any 2 or 3 of these things around town where people will stay for more than two hours. The restaurants will follow.
Robby April 06, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Hello, I wanted to take a moment and ad my .02 to this topic. I have been reading the comments over the last few days. Some are very good and right on point. I can speak first hand to the problems that ALL the businesses have been having since the Lake Cook construction has been going on. I am the general manager of one of the restaurants mentioned in some of the comments. I can tell you first hand the construction cost us about 20% of our business. Not only the Lake Cook construction both the Metra underpass on Deerfield rd. To date most of the tenants can't figure out why that under pass was ever built? Nobody (ok that's a stretch) let say very few people if any even use it. Just another example of wasted money. But in these times restaurants like other business have to be able to adjust be flexible do whatever it take to make your customer want to come back even if it means sitting in traffic. We are one of the luckier restaurants. We give the customer a reason to come see us.
Robby April 06, 2012 at 04:05 AM
The main key for us is we decided that all the donations giveaways charities coupons etc will be only community focused. I listen to our customer base learn what they want and i have now after about 9 months will be unveiling a new menu in just a couple more weeks. . I stress customer service no matter what. I know we can't please everyone. But i tell the staff i don't care keep trying! We have fought a lot of obstacles both with the city, property owners and other restaurants opening up on our front door. So i know what these other businesses are going through. We at Trax will continue to move forward be a community restaurant and give the people of Deerfield what they want. We will continue to support the Schools, Churches temples and many other organizations. You want to make it in this town that is what it is going to take. Please this isn't an ad for Trax but instead it is one guy seeing it a little differently. PS to the guy that wrote about the car wash.you are sorely mistaken..
RonnieTheLimoDriver April 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM
The last time they updated the signage regulations I remember the board benchmarking our rules amongst others in the N.S. Seems we were pretty middle of the road. Lake Forrest is the most strict by far.
NB April 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Someone further up this post asked about talking with Lettuce Entertain You and Levy about why they aren't in Deerfield. Hey, simple question: Cosi is headquartered on Lake Cook Road. How come they aren't in Deerfield? I'm just asking.
RonnieTheLimoDriver April 11, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I am a big Portillos fan so I decided to ask them to investigate Deerfield. I contacted them and they told me they are not opening any more Portillo's right now because they are focused on a new concept. So much for Portillo's! In the mean time we some good locally owned hot dog stands to frequent.
steve shay April 11, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I have a great idea! A couple of unemployed people who know how to cook pizza, hot dogs, and ribs, can assemble a salad and whip up an omelet, and enjoy the public, should partner up, find a small to medium storefront in Deerfield, rent it, and open a restaurant. I learned about supply and demand in business class in Deerfield High School. There is a diner here in West Seattle started by a young lady, a former chef onboard a charter boat. She simply rented a small storefront that had some kitchen equipment left over from an out of business Chinese restaurant. Her friends helped her paint it and make minimal improvements. That was last year. She has since expanded into a former insurance office space and there are lines out the door. There was a need, and she filled it.
RonnieTheLimoDriver April 11, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Steve, people would argue that the demand is not there if the existing places that are run by pros, not newbies, are going out. it also takes a fair amount of capital to open a restaurant. nobody is giving away kitchen equipment around here.
Mike Wagner April 16, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Change the mayor and board
Mike Wagner April 16, 2012 at 04:23 PM
They were and left why come back.

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