A developer is proposing to demolish the Bank of America Building at 3300 Harlem Ave. in Riverside and build a Sherwin Williams paint store in its place. The proposed deal calls for a package of financial incentives, with the former bank parking lot across the street at 3320 Harlem Ave. being ceded to the village of Riverside. | PROVIDED

The Riverside Village Board next month is expected to approve a package of economic incentives worth $220,000 to seal a deal that would bring a Sherwin Williams paint store to the property at 3300 Harlem Ave. and cede property at 3320 Harlem Ave. that was formerly a bank parking lot to the village.

Developer Kevin Vernick, a trustee of MEV Riverside LLC, pitched village trustees on the incentive package at their meeting on Sept. 2, saying the incentives are needed to make the development financially feasible.

“The cost of construction has gone through the roof, unfortunately, over the past couple of years,” said Vernick, who appeared before the village board via Zoom. “In the past six months costs have gone up, the cost of the land is extremely sensitive and unfortunately [the incentives are] going to be filling the gap.”

Vernick said moving ahead with the project is contingent on the village providing the incentives, which include waiving all permit, inspection and plan review fees. Based on estimated build-out costs of $1.8 million, that would amount to about $40,000 in fees, according to Assistant Village Manager Ashley Monroe, who oversees the village’s community development department.

In addition, Vernick seeks a sales tax rebate over a 10-year period, with MEV Riverside getting 80 percent of sales taxes attributed to the Sherwin Williams store until that figure reaches $180,000.

That figure was reached based on Sherwin Williams sales tax information compiled from stores across the Chicago area. According to that analysis, which was provided to the village by the developer, new Sherwin Williams stores generate about $21,000 in sales taxes in year one, and ramp up gradually to about $27,400 by year 10.

Vernick informed trustees that he already had staff approval of the building design and site plan for the new store. He said he’s finalizing lease details with Sherwin Williams and that should the village approve the package of incentives, the property would close either late in 2021 or early in 2022, with construction starting in spring.

Village trustees expressed enthusiasm for the proposal, although there was some concern over whether economic incentives related to the sales tax rebate would be transferrable to another tenant should Sherwin Williams vacate before the 10-year term of the deal.

While Vernick said he preferred the incentive package be transferrable, he also indicated faith that Sherwin Williams would be a long-term tenant. The company has leased commercial space at 3401 Harlem Ave. in Berwyn, just across the railroad tracks, for decades.

That store would close when the new store is built, Vernick said. The Berwyn property is privately owned, but Vernick does not appear to have a stake in the property. Whether the Riverside development is part of a more ambitious plan that would also include the present Sherwin Williams site is unknown.

Vernick told the Landmark he was “not allowed to talk to the media” when a reporter reached him Sept. 3.

The proposal indicates the developer will buy the former Bank of America building at 3300 Harlem Ave. and the bank’s former parking lot/drive-thru facility south of East Burlington Street at 3320 Harlem Ave.

The developer plans to demolish the Bank of America building and construct a new 3,500-square-foot Sherwin Williams store with an adjacent parking lot. The main entrance/exit to the parking lot will be off Harlem Avenue.

The wide curb cut along the north side of East Burlington Street, which was needed for the bank drive-thru, will be narrowed, since there is no longer a need for it.

The deal would be structured so that the .309-acre parking lot would be ceded to the village of Riverside by the developer. It’s a key gateway property next to the Metra commuter line, which has a stop at Harlem Avenue, and could be developed in a variety of ways.

“I’m sure there will be a robust conversation during the budget process [later this year] and whether or not a developer approaches us about that property,” Village Manager Jessica Frances told the Landmark. “There is not a plan yet. First we need to get [the development deal] done and then get a bigger picture of what to do with that property.”

Vernick has developed several sites for Sherwin Williams in recent years, including the one in Brookfield at 9540 Ogden Ave., which opened in late 2015. He typically requests incentives for developing the stores.

In the case of the Brookfield development, Vernick’s firm acquired the land at Ogden and Eberly avenues for $10 from the village of Brookfield, which also waived all permit fees. 

The firm took out an $837,000 construction loan to build the new store and then sold the property two years later to a California real estate investor for nearly $1.5 million.