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  • Megann Horstead

Sugar Grove trustees discuss development options for National Shopping Plaza property

Sugar Grove trustees are once again exploring options for developing a large parcel of vacant land near the west side of the village. A representative from the property's contract purchaser, National Shopping Plaza, met with trustees at the village board meeting June 18.

Bound by primarily the west side of Sugar Grove Parkway between Galena Boulevard and Route 30, there are about 40 acres of land in talks to bring commerce to town. It also includes several acres on the north side of Galena Boulevard between Walgreens and Sugar Grove Senior Apartments.

The village has been working with National Shopping Plaza for more than a year to make the development a reality.

If approved, Sugar Grove would be laying the groundwork for construction along the north end of the area in question for three buildings consisting of two national tenants and one in which further details are not disclosed. Plans for south end of the development have yet to be determined.

George Hanus, a representative for National Shopping Plaza, said one of the tenants could be an auto parts store.

Sugar Grove is already home to an AutoZone auto parts store, and several trustees questioned if a similar business would be a good fit for the village.

Hanus took time to explain.

“The auto parts business is one of the most Internet-proof, one of the most existentially important businesses for America,” he said. “You can’t really have too much because there are really four national companies.”

Trustee Rick Montalto said he tends to agree with Hanus that competition is good, but he believes there’s reason for the village to be cautious.

“Our concern is not so much [government] getting involved in business, but our path has always been steady, sustainable growth,” he said. “We don’t want vacant buildings. There’s a lot of communities with a lot vacant buildings.”

Hanus tried to address the concern, saying tenants usually sign 10 to 15 year leases.

Previous plans for the area in question date back to 2009, but never materialized. The village board at the time approved both a planned unit development plan and an annexation agreement, allowing for a commercial development dubbed Prairie Grove.

Hanus National Shopping Plaza has an interest in forming a public-private partnership with Sugar Grove.

Trustee Jen Konen questioned if it would be palatable to extend tax increment financing district assistance to make the development possible, as the area in question falls in the boundaries of one of Sugar Grove’s tax increment financing districts.

Both sides agreed that tax increment financing district assistance, if allocated toward the development, would not be issued at the expense of neighboring taxing bodies.

Hanus said there’s been no decision made as to if assistance would be needed to address challenges involving poor soil, distance to the nearest sanitary sewer collection point and Route 47 access.

“We’re not asking for it, but you have it,” Hanus said.

Sugar Grove is requiring National Shopping Plaza to amend the planned unit development plan and annexation agreement. The developer is also required to submit a site plan and architectural plans for the village to review.

Plans for the development’s south end where poor soil and Route 47 access present issues are awaiting, in part, for a review by the Illinois Department of Transportation. As such, it remains unclear how this portion of the development would be put to use.

National Shopping Center has not yet closed in on the sale of the property.

Metra funding update

Also at the meeting, the board received an update regarding a recent meeting of the Metra Board that was attended by Trustee Ted Koch, Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger and Kendall County Board chairman Chris Lauzen attended.

The Sugar Grove Village Board at a recent special meeting formalized its opposition to the state of Illinois’ capital bill that allocates $100 million toward Kendall County.

As previously reported, Village President Sean Michels would rather the funding go to Sugar Grove before it goes to Kendall County.

Koch said he thinks the meeting went well.

“The feedback that I heard was the Metra Board wanted to use that $100 million for taking care and maintaining their current track system and what they have and not for expansion,” he said. “They are not inclined to expand unless they were to receive direction from the Regional Transportation Authority.”

Cannabis sales discussed

In another development, Michels brought up the idea of the village board discussing whether Sugar Grove should allow cannabis sales.

State lawmakers recently legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Much like video gaming years ago, municipalities are tasked with considering whether they want to opt-in to the idea of allowing cannabis sales.

Michels acknowledged there is more on this topic to consider than revenue.

The village board came to a consensus to discuss the topic at a later date.

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