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Village Issues Report on Deerbrook

Plans for renovation and sales tax sharing are part of proposal.

The owners of the will be seeking a partnership with the Village of Deerfield at no out of pocket cost to the taxpayers at the June 18 Board of Trustees meeting as part of their $26 million redevelopment package, according to a report by Deerfield staff.

Gateway Fairview, the owner of the shopping center, will ask Deerfield to establish a special business district allowing a portion of new sales taxes generated by the renovated shopping center to help defray the costs.

“We’re very excited Deerbrook will be renewed,” . “We anticipate receiving a letter of intent and cooperating with the developer.” She emphasized the plan will cost the Village nothing and will ultimately increase sales tax revenue.

Deerbrook must demonstrate to the Village it has a need for the assistance through a detailed plan. “They will have to prove the necessity for it,” Rosenthal said. “Any decision on sales tax will have a limit and there will be a written agreement.”

It is anticipated the letter of intent will be presented at the June 18 meeting.

The initial phase of the work will cost approximately $6 million and include . Starbucks will be moved to a freestanding location with a drive through window adjacent to Chase Bank during the first portion of the project.

The report indicates it will take four months to demolish the existing space between and Back to Bed and 14 months to relocate to that location.

The second phase of the project is expected to cost approximately $20 million and begins with a five-month demolition of the indoor mall, the and the current Best Buy Space. .

A new store will be built for Jewel in the current location of Best Buy. It is anticipated this will last 15 months according to the report. At the same time, junior box stores will be erected between the existing Ulta location and the proposed new Jewel as well as construction of small shop space where the current Jewel is located.

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D'skidoc June 06, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Sounds like the plan is to cut and paste a few boxes of various sizes, and pray for some new tenants. I hope they present an actual plan at the meeting.
The Q June 06, 2012 at 12:50 PM
the Village deserves what it gets........total incompetence.
LSR June 06, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Are these fools who sit in Bernie's Building serious? It sounds like they finally figured out that the sun has moved and its time to get a new spot in the sun. For real? Are we just moving the chairs around the pool deck? Why doesn't the board challenge the developer and put them on notice that if they do not get better tenants and a more well thought out plan then no funds will be coming their way. Were any residents briefed on the plan? Harriet should take her ball and go home. Truly ineffective and incompetent leadership!
TMom June 06, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I totally agree with LSR. This is bogus. New tennants are needed, not just a "new coat of paint" on the old ones. I've lived in Deerfield for 13 years and almost NEVER go to that mall. I absolutely won't start if this is really going to be the plan. "Junior box stores"??? Give me a break! Has anyone seen what has happened to Deerfield Sqaure? As I've said a million times before (and it seems like a lot of you were in agreement), get a Mariano's in there; get a Target in there; get a Portillos in there. THOSE ARE SURE BETS!
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 06, 2012 at 03:08 PM
FOR GOODNESS SAKES, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE attach some measurements for the developer to this agreement!!!! Something beyond the initial construction!!! That's half the issue!!! They already demonstrated they have no problem sitting on a dying property. This is obviously not a huge revenue generator for their company. The village needs to force them to look at it more seriously. I don't know this industry but I would think a minimum tax requirement from all businesses over a ten year period would be very easy to incorporate. This IS costing the town money. They are taking money away. In general, i have no problem with that if it's done with a safety net for the village. Is there one? Jewel ... TJ Maxx ... and now tax money for a private development that looks like it will be mediocre at best (hope I'm jumping the gun). This one issue alone may determine my vote, and so far, it does not even come close to demonstrating a whole lot of creativity or business acumen on the part of the mayor or the village board. Those would seem to be minimum traits for running this village. This isn't a country club we're talking about.
The Q June 06, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Jewel has a long term lease and right of first refusal so Mariano's is not happening......
RB June 06, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Agreed, except the pedestrian underpass fiasco and expense also go on my list as watch points for making my decision when members of the board come up for reelection. Total cost for that underpass not counting the pain of roadway stoppage was north of $650,000 of Village Taxpayer money and well over $1million of Federal taxpayer dollars (was it $2 million?) (still our money). I noticed on the latest billing, we were just charged over $1000 for paint . That paint job they just had to redo? We had to pay for it....again. THAT underpass is so far the determining factor for me to change out the board. Deerbrook needs to be a home run to make up for the underpass.
Steve June 06, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Ok so this plan sounds ver vague. I understand the need to build and relocate your existing tennants. If I had a long term lease there I would expect nothing less. And the Jewel needs a face lift! But this sounds like it is going to chop off the south end keep the middle, bulid a new south end, then move everyone, chop down the north end and rebuild it with new store fronts for possible new tennants. I do not see a conceptual drawing or plan here. And why? I spoke earleir aboujt the need to redo this mall with some creative planning. It sounds to me that they are keeping the budget down and building a box again. This mall needs some interest and some traffic planning. I suggested looking into what was done in the Gloen. Or perhaps something like Old Orchard where there is all outside foot traffic. Or perhaps like Downtown Disney in Orlando. If you have been there you know what I am refering to. This mall needs a full rework, not just a coat of lipstick on the pig. And as far as who will be in there? Target will not put in a store so close to the Glenview store. They keep a minimum distance between locations and there is one in Vernon Hills and Glenview. If they add more they will have the same problem as Best Buy! The build is going to take to long for them to have signed new tennants at this juncture. The economy is also to shakey to be making commitments two to three years down the road. So how about a conceptual plan please,and stop trying to do this on the cheap!
Daniel Krudop June 06, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Also, Target, 2099 Skokie Valley Rd, Highland Park, IL, 6 mi from Deerbrook.
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 06, 2012 at 10:41 PM
So if you're the developer, do you not discuss Cadwell Corner with Mariano's (I'm almost positive they are the same developer)? Like I said, creative choices need to be made. If Mariano's is interested, I'd make sure Jewel knew about that. Suddenly I bet you'd have a space open in Deerbrook Mall. Admittedly, I don;t know the relationship between the developer and Jewel outside this property. I can't believe a company that has taken such poor care of its store with such mediocre service was given such negotiation power. Another poor choice.
David Greenberg June 06, 2012 at 11:14 PM
"No out of pocket cost to the taxpayers" - folks, as some have said above - get your antennae up! I smell a TIF district in the making. Basically the sales tax dollars generated in that district go to benefit improvements in that district. Which means, wait for it, that LESS money from sales taxes are available to pay for other items which rely on sales tax for funding. Look into your local Village budget. Find out what the average amount of sales taxes are. Look at how much comes out of Deerbrook. Now deduct that amount. This is what's left over. What do those sales taxes pay for in your Village? Does this mean that the Village will cut services to offset the reallocation (loss) of sales tax dollars? Or does it mean that you can expect a tax increase because of it? There's absolutely ZERO reason why the Village should pay a dime of anything to a developer, no matter where the money comes from. Forget it. Let the developer figure out their own financing, pay their own bills, put their own money at risk. If they're not willing to do it 100% - then why should the taxpayer be expected to put up one red cent? If that deal doesn't work for the developer, then let them sell the property and allow something else to take its place.
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 07, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Okay, we've seen what the developer has done when left to their own devices. They let the property sit in a shambles for how many years? Now what? Are you perfectly comfortable sticking to a no-investment standard as a valuable property dies an even slower death and drags the area with it? I don't agree that this is an all or nothing proposition. The village can invest some coin, but they sure as h*ll better demonstrate how they are aggressively working with the developer, covering their bets and holding the developer to some measurable goals through the life of the property - not simply during construction. I don't get the feeling that is anywhere near happening .
Curious Resident June 07, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I think that the Deerbrook Mall developers should go take a look at Willow Festival!!!! That's a true success....good restaurants, stand free stores, etc. I am not a 100% sure but I believe not one of those stores have closed since that mall area opened!
RB June 07, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I agree, the evidence is this developer does nothing for a property...it's a waste land now. Why would they suddenly have a change of heart. This board has allowed developers to walk all over the in the past....1) Prime Source taking all the good retail parking spaces in the Cabella's ( I mean Baker, no they closed too) shopping center across from whole foods, 2) the giant parking lot of downtown that you can barely drive through and the parking spaces are so narrow 3) the restaurants with no parking behind the shopping center 4) a car wash in downtown (a good one, but still a car wash downtown?) 5) the developer getting away with planting scrawny trees in said parking lot, not maintaining them so we don't have the look we were promised 6) banks banks banks everywhere.
The Q June 07, 2012 at 02:49 PM
this is extremely valuable development space.....if done right. Demographics are off the charts, density and median income. Deerfield should not have to give them a penny. But if they do that should give them a whole lot of say, but as usual the tax payers will get the bill and the developer will make all the money and we the people will get more of the same, which is a whole lot of nothing......
David Greenberg June 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
BDB: Not one cent. Invest nothing more than what's already there. The infrastructure is there. The traffic counts are there. The rest should be on the developer. Every deal that I've ever seen where it was a "public/private partnership" started off being toted as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Ultimately, the developer doesn't have enough skin in the game, they don't care, they walk away or sell it to someone else, etc. and the taxpayer loses out. Forget it. I say don't get into bed with them in the first place. If what we have to offer as demographics and in the community aren't attractive enough, fine. Sell the property and move on. Let someone else develop it. But putting taxpayers money into this? Through a TIF or whatever else? It's a sucker's bet. PT Barnum was right.
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 07, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Okay, so now, as has been perfectly evident for more than a decade, the developer barely invests in the property, it doesn't come anywhere near to the potential that everybody knows it has and the developer has no interest in selling. Are you saying you're perfectly willing to just let a valuable part of the village sit there for another ten years until real estate values peak again ... we hope?
David Greenberg June 08, 2012 at 06:28 PM
The developer hasn't invested over the past 10 years, so why would they suddenly do a 180 now? Giving them taxpayer funds is suddenly going to make them more responsible? Somehow I doubt it. It's their property - if they don't want to invest in it, that's their problem. Any code enforcement issues that come up as a result of the lack of investment can be addressed by the Village. If they're not making enough money, maybe they'll be apt to sell, and the Village can move on. But really, the news is rife with examples of "public/private partnerships" that ended up going sour, and the public took more of the loss than the private did.
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 09, 2012 at 02:10 AM
"It's their property - if they don't want to invest in it, that's their problem." So you're okay with letting it sit. See, that's my problem. I'm not.
David Greenberg June 09, 2012 at 04:18 AM
That's fine, but they're a private entity. There's basically four possibilities: 1) Leave them to their own devices to manage their own private property as they see fit (so long as they're compliant with building codes/ordinances). 2) Use public money to invest in a private venture, with no real guarantee of any return on investment. And with historical instances to back up the very real losses to the taxpayer that can and do often occur. 3) Create a TIF district to redirect funds from that area back into that area. Of course, this can create funding issues in areas outside of that District, and then either services/infrastructure go lacking in the areas outside of the District, or taxes/fees have to go up somewhere else to balance out the redirected funds. If the taxes/fees don't go up, and it's infrastructure that suffers, then the piper will come calling sooner or later and money will have to come from somewhere to resolve those infrastructure issues. 4) Work out a deal with another developer, someone with a good plan, who has a proven track record, and who wants to invest their own money. Get a study done on sales tax revenues, compare to the current sales tax revenues level. Make a case for an Eminent Domain proceeding pursuant to some strangely held Federal cases, take the property from the current owner, pay them "market value", and transfer ownership to the new developer with a plan. (note: if it's not readily apparent, I really abhor this choice).
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 09, 2012 at 07:29 PM
"No real guarantee of any return on investment" See, that's where I disagree. I think a smart administration can guarantee some type of return based on something measurable like sales tax. And if those goals aren't achieved, then ... choose any numbers of options to write into the agreement. It's also a measurement that allows the village to make sure the developer continues maintenance on the property rather than just letting it sit. And I think that provision is low-hanging fruit. As someone said, the village is about to become a partner in this, and I'm sure there are many other provisions that can be placed in an agreement to help the village. Also, i don;t know if I totally disagree with number four. Either way, there are ways to be more aggressive and creative about this than: a) Just giving them the money or; b) Just letting the property sit. And I get the feeling the mayor, the town manager and the board are not doing that. The town will probably find out when it's too late.
J.Lyn June 09, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Going back to the first thread of discussion regarding this matter...the thought of TJ Maxx being a anchor store should in of itself indicate that the entire bunch of yahoos involved in this project are beyond clueless. What we need...and no doubt will not get... are some youthful visionary professionals to take this project on from start to finish. Otherwise we will get that 'lipstick on a pig' as one of so aptly pointed out. At which point we will only need to rename the mall and may I be the first to suggest to suggest: The Cluster F**k.
David Greenberg June 09, 2012 at 09:33 PM
BDB: The problem with sales tax is that it's not easily measurable. You can require copies of all the Sales Tax returns from all the merchants in the Mall be sent to the Village, and do the math. But depending upon their level of sales, some merchants have to file Sales Tax annually, some as often as weekly, and with a few other options in between. The IDOR also changes the requirements for merchants as the merchant's sales levels vary. Trying to stay on top of the issue can be challenging - and who's going to do it? A Village employee? What's that cost? Or you have the developer do it, and then you're essentially asking the fox to guard the henhouse... But those issues notwithstanding - you can't really complain if someone doesn't hit a specific level of sales because that could be a simple market or economic effect that's dragging sales down. Then what do you do? Mandate that the developer spend more money to TRY and prop up sales? When you do that, you start to wander into the slippery slope of the 5th Amendment with regard to "takings" - the developer has to be compensated for that, or they don't have to do it.
David Greenberg June 09, 2012 at 09:33 PM
BDB: Mandating specific amounts to be spent on the property is another "takings" issue. And how do you verify they actually spent the money they said they did on what it was supposed to be spent on? Who's going to track all that? What's that going to cost? What if they don't do it? Then you have to sue them and spend more money? There's no guarantee that the provisions will be complied with, or that the developer won't claim they had Force Majure-type issues outside of their control that prevented their compliance...
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 09, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Staying on top of sales tax for - what is it - 20 stores (on a good day - 10 or 12 in reality) is not that easy? I don't buy that argument for a second. There must be a lot of large companies who have some real trouble filing their taxes every year. Negotiate it into the contract and have the computer pump it out on a quarterly basis. If I got a response similar to yours from the developer and participating stores, then you know we have a problem with the negotiations My general problem is that you know none of these discussions are happening.
David Greenberg June 11, 2012 at 08:21 AM
BDB: OK, I'll bite. How do you get the "computer to pump it out"? How do you get the information into the computer to begin with? How do you make sure everyone who's supposed to submit the information, is? How do you make sure that they're submitting it on-time? How do you verify it's correct? Take Jewel for instance - grocery stores generally do a lot of business and often have to file sales tax returns weekly. Whereas someone else might have to do it quarterly. Some are annually. Some at different timings - so the program has to be able to deal with all of that. And some human being needs to take care of and feed the program to ensure it's working properly, etc... Then there's a whole bunch of other back-end costs that go along with that program's care and feeding - computing infrastructure, licensing, maintenance, etc... It seems simple, but it's actually a bit complex. Not overly so, not a deal-breaker. But just something that's not as easy as it looks and which leaves a lot of space for wiggling out of compliance...
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 11, 2012 at 08:00 PM
There's a reason every receipt has sales tax at the bottom of it. If you don;t understand how that and any other sales information is fed to corporate offices about every location for monthly reports, then our conversation is probably done.
David Greenberg June 12, 2012 at 04:35 AM
BDB: I understand quite well how sales tax works and is reported to corporate HQ's. That's not the problem. How it's reported to the Village, accounted for, and verified is.
RonnieTheLimoDriver June 13, 2012 at 01:25 AM
The Village should not invest a cent into this property. With the amount of vacant stores caused by years of neglect, the market is on its way to solving this problem on its own. There is no way the current owners of the mall are going to be able to keep current on their payments if there are no stores leased. If they don't want to have the bank solve the problem for them, they will invest on their own, without village money.
Bringin' Down Briarwood June 13, 2012 at 01:42 AM
You make a better argument. How many years would you give for the situation to take care of itself? Would you be comfortable if they didn't touch it for ten years? That would be my worry.

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