Riverside trustees on Nov. 4 voted unanimously to award a development company $220,000 in economic incentives to bring a Sherwin-Williams paint store to the corner of Harlem Avenue and East Burlington Street possibly by late 2022.
David Vernick, a trustee of MEV Riverside LLC, told elected officials that his company intends to close on the properties at 3300 Harlem Ave. and 3320 Harlem Ave. – which sit across East Burlington Street from one another – in December.
According to the terms of the deal approved by village trustees last week, Vernick will have 270 days from the property closing date for the new store to be substantially complete.
“Not only will your building have an exponential effect on the market value of the property, it’ll be wonderful for our village,” Riverside President Joseph Ballerine told Vernick at the meeting.
The 3,500-square-foot store, along with a 16-space parking lot, will be located at 3300 Harlem Ave., home to a former Bank of America branch that closed two years ago and has sat vacant since.
MEV Riverside LLC will demolish the existing bank building and construct a new Sherwin-Williams store in its place. The Sherwin-Williams store which has operated for decades a stone’s throw away from the Riverside site, at 3401 Harlem Ave. in Berwyn, will close to make way for the new location.
Vehicles will be able to access the new store’s parking lot via both Harlem Avenue and East Burlington Street, though the East Burlington Street curb cut will be narrowed since the existing curb cut will no longer be needed to accommodate the bank’s drive-thru area.
“In all the years I’ve been in Riverside, I’ve never had a national chain come knocking at our door,” said Ballerine. “Sherwin-Williams has been a company almost as long as Riverside has been Riverside. It’s been 50 years that that property has been a non-[sales] tax-generating bank.”
Vernick estimated the cost to acquire the land, demolish the old building and build a new store will be about $1.86 million. In exchange for his pledge to make that investment, Riverside is waiving up to $40,000 in permit and inspection fees. Additionally, MEV Riverside LLC will receive business district tax and sales tax rebates totaling $180,000 or for 13 years, whichever occurs first.
The property lies within one of three specifically designated “business districts” along Harlem Avenue, which the Riverside Village Board created in recent years. An additional 1-percent tax on retail sales is levied within each business district for use within the district.
MEV Riverside LLC will receive a 100-percent rebate on the business district sales tax attributed to the Sherwin-Williams store and 60 percent on sales taxes generated by the store up to the $180,000 maximum.
Based on a sales tax analysis provided to the village by Vernick, Sherwin-Williams paint stores produce between $21,000 and $28,000 annually in sales tax revenues during a store’s first 10 years of operation.
Village to acquire parking lot
A key aspect of the deal with MEV Riverside LLC is the village’s acquisition of the former Bank of America parking lot at 3320 Harlem Ave. The closing costs for the parking lot property will be shared by the village and MEV Riverside LLC, which will cede the site to the village immediately upon closing.
The roughly 0.4-acre parking lot in the short-term will continue to serve as parking for the village, but redevelopment is not out of the question.
However, any sort of redevelopment where the site is excavated will trigger a need to remediate contaminated soil, which was previously identified from the property’s former use as a gas station.
The site has a 2001 no-further-remediation letter from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which identified the presence of benzene in the soil near the ATM location in the parking lot.
Because the site was used solely as a parking lot, the asphalt barrier was deemed sufficient for that use. However, the letter also noted that “any excavation within the contaminated soil will require implementation of a safety plan” that adheres to federal guidelines for cleaning up hazardous waste sites.
Development of the site has other challenges, including the likelihood the Illinois Department of Transportation will never allow access to the property from Harlem Avenue due to its location next to a railroad right-of-way.
Still, said Village Manager Jessica Frances, the village has been contacted by commercial real estate brokers interested in marketing the property. For now, it appears the village will be content with seal-coating and re-striping the lot so it can continue to be used for that purpose.
Frances said apartment tenants near Harlem Avenue have long desired off-street overnight parking in that area. The lot could also be used for commuter parking since the Harlem Avenue Metra stop in Berwyn is just steps away.