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Golf Mill Can't Get Loan To Update, Asks Niles For Financing Help

Shopping center wants to improve infrastructure, renovate to remain attractive; village could slightly raise sales taxes at the mall to help it.

Shopping centers, like the clothing in their stores, must keep up with fashion or get swept aside as hopelessly out of date. Yet in this era of tight credit, it's pretty much impossible for a shopping center to borrow the money needed to spruce up.

That's the essence of what Mike Williams, the general manager of Golf Mill Shopping Center, told the Niles village board at its meeting Tuesday night during an initial discussion of a proposal that would, in effect, have the village slightly raise sales taxes at the mall to fund infrastructure improvements that will allow it to renovate and stay competitive in the future.

"We're seeking your support," he told trustees, ticking off some of the troubles the mall is facing: below-market leasing deals, bankruptcies, tight bank financing, and competition in the form of proposed malls in Rosemont and Norridge.

Village Manager George Van Geem told trustees he has been working with the mall's management for months to develop a plan, because of the mall's importance in providing sales tax revenue to the village.

Williams drove home the benefits to Niles residents, saying that for every dollar spent at Golf Mill, 67 cents comes from non-Niles residents, while 33 cents comes from Niles residents.

Wendell Hollan, first vice president of brokerage services for CB Richard Ellis, the leasing agent for Golf Mill, and Bob Rychlicki of Kane McKenna and Associates, a financial services consultant which works with municipalities and economic development, also told trustees of the need to make improvements and updates at the mall and the fact that banks would not provide the loans to make such renovation possible.

According to a notice prepared by the village, the plan calls for the village to declare Golf Mill a "blighted area" in legal language, for the purposes of making it eligible to become a business district under the provisions of a state law, called the Business District Act. That law allows municipalities to enact a tax on the businesses there to, in effect, help them.

Under the plan, according to the village's notice, Niles would levy on Golf Mill tenants a tax of 0.25 percent, or 25 cents on a $100 purchase, according to Rychlicki. The money would finance the mall's   improvements, which could include: water mains, sewer mains, sidewalks and roadways, site preparation, building rehabilitation and related professional costs. 

Trustees voted to move the proposal along by scheduling a public hearing, which will most likely take place Sept. 13 or 20.

After the meeting, Trustee Andrew Przybylo remarked, "It's a smart move for the mall. They don't have the wherewithal to make the improvements that have to be made, so they have to do it in some other way."

The village would not be on the hook for any money, he pointed out. 

"But will shoppers get wise, and realize there's a one-quarter percent sales tax?" he asked rhetorically. 

Clark Kent August 24, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Hold on to your hats! Here we go again! Government is again supposed to come to the aid of a private business based as usual on manufactured SCARE TACTIS about falling tax revenues with the perennial brouhaha about "helping people" So! Mr. Van Geem has been working for months about a plan??? How much time has he used up ON OUR PAYROLL TO SOLVE SUPPOSED FINANCIAL PROBLEMS FOR PRIVATE CORPORATIONS? Golf Mill has no plan of its own? The Mall needs Mr. Van Geem's sage advice and clout? In American jurisprudence, there exists a question asked in certain cases: “CUI BONO?" which asks "Who benefits?" Obviously the Mall benefits, the consultants benefit, and one can only speculate what other beneficial opportunities for some might be in place. I have not stopped shopping at Golf Mill because of any infrastructure problems, and I don't know anyone who has. Are the supposed problems the result of poor management by the Mall softened by the wish of the Mall to pretend things will only get better? SHOPPERS-- GIVE ME YOUR MONEY AND YOU WILL BE HAPPIER! Customers should therefore pay additional “taxes” to fix up the Mall which its managers haven't apparently been able to do with all of THEIR OWN MONEY and expertise. The Mall seems to be passing the buck to unsuspecting customers while USING THE VILLAGE OF NILES as its personal collection agency! And they apparently can expect help from at least one politician.
Clark Kent August 24, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Trustee Przybylo thinks the Mall is soooo smart to plan this way. And then has the unmitigated arrogance to suggest that people are too stupid to know the difference- "But will shoppers get wise, and realize there's a one-quarter percent sales tax?" Should we expect that someday there will be other “blighted areas” in the town that just was recognized as a great place to raise a family? Will other businesses BEG to be blighted areas? Will restaurant owners ask for special tax consideration because they are blighted, too? Nobody should be fooled by this contrived, convoluted conspiracy to milk yet more bucks from the flippant Mr. Przybylo’s dumb bunnies. Always the SCARE TACTIC about “revenue streams” and jobs, and the future and on and on and on. Let Golf Mill fix their own problems with their own money, not dollars collected by Niles and then handed over to Mall “planners.” Now the avaricious want the revenue stream to go into a lazy river where famed theatre Mill Run used to be. Maybe the Mall should hold a raffle for large corporations and offer the services of Mr. Van Geem and Mr. Williams as the prize! The raffle could be held in some blighted area just to show its importance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8Qk4khPEEY
PAuul August 24, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Get real I have no issue with Niles helping with underwriting an Industrial development bond , However do so with proper security! The moronic answers coming from our Village board are typical of career politicians, TAX and SPEND A prime example of that Is the Morons running the library , They have over taxed BECAUSE THEY CAN ! and now as the need for a library dwindles they choose to spend the 12 MILLION yes 12 Million that they have stolen from us to build a monument to themselves with no regard for the tax payers that are out of work and losing there homes. But look at the bright side maybe that Barbara Nakanishi plans on adding living quarters to the new library she wants to build and all these people can move in to the library! When will it all end ??
John August 25, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Nice to know that our village manager has spent several months of his time working on a plan to help a coporation rather than spending his time working on a plan to help the flooding problem in niles. Guess people only count in niles when they can be taxed to help a corporation. I would like to know why these so called problems at Golf Mill were not addressed when they did their major renovation a few years ago?

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