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Paper: Chicago Tribune
Title: ELMHURST OKS REBATE FOR CONDO DEVELOPER - CITY OFFICIALS DEBATE MERITS OF
TAX BREAK
Author: Joanne von Alroth and Jeff Coen. Special to the Tribune
Date: June 17, 1997
Section: METRO DU PAGE
Page: 1

Elmhurst City Council members voted 8-5 Monday to award a developer more than
$265,000 in financial aid to build a controversial $18 million townhouse and
condominium project in the downtown area.

Members of the Council's Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services
Committee all agreed last week that the city should waive city permit fees for
the Renzi/Gammonley Group's 74-unit development on what is now the Market Plaza
grocery site at Addison Avenue and 3rd Street as part of an incentive plan for
the projectCity officials have said it is likely they will be repaying the
developers for street improvements--a cost usually borne by the city--over a
two-year period.

But the committee split on the rebate amount that should be awarded
Renzi/Gammonley.

Aldermen Janice Vanek and James Parker recommended the city award the
developer a $265,000 property-tax rebate and pay for any storm-water retention
costs incurred if the city's requirements are stricter than DuPage County's.

Another report, signed by Aldermen Paul Fichtner and George Szczepaniak,
recommended the city award Renzi/Gammonley a $175,000 property-tax rebate that
can be used only for demolition, utility installation and connections or for
similar site development costs.

Their report also recommended that the city and the developer split storm
water costs if the city's requirements prove stricter than the county's.

Both reports recommended that the property-tax rebate be awarded over several
years, with the city and developer splitting property-tax revenues until the
amount agreed upon is reached.

The council voted to accept the majority report calling for $265,000 in
rebates.

Vanek said the city needs to be aggressive in attracting development in and
near downtown. She said Elmhurst planners have called for multifamily
residential development in the downtown area.

"We believe the dollars are an investment in the continuing revitalization of
downtown," she said.

Fichtner said the city has offered the developer enough by granting a higher
density variance.

"It's not a game of chicken," he said. "It's an exercise in common sense.
That $175,000 would be very acceptable to them."

More than two dozen residents attended Monday night's meeting, including
Steve Murphy, who has acted as a spokesman for residents in the area.

Murphy said giving the developer the extra dollars would demonstrate that
Elmhurst leaders are among the "biggest suckers out there."

The full council overwhelmingly rejected a $625,000 rebate proposed by the
development company two months ago. But it did give the nod to the project
itself after Renzi/Gammonley agreed to scale back the proposed six-story
condominium building to four stories, add more green space, move the buildings
farther from the street and add more parking spaces.

Many area residents continue to oppose the project, charging that the
development's density and height would hurt the surrounding neighborhood.

Without the extra assistance, developer Neil Renzi said, the project could
not be built as planned

Author: Joanne von Alroth and Jeff Coen. Special to the Tribune
Section: METRO DU PAGE
Page: 1

Copyright 1997, Chicago Tribune