As developers move away from the big box stores at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, landowners on the east side of Highway 59 near the mall are asking Naperville for development tools to revitalize their commercial properties.
On Tuesday, Naperville City Council will respond to a request from New York-based Brixmor Property Group to pursue the creation of a business district that would allow the city to levy an additional sales tax on the property to fund the renovation of its shopping centres.
Brixmor wants to pay to move water, sewer, utilities, parking lots and roads in the Westridge Court and Heritage Square commercial areas to 404-405 S. Route 59, north of Aurora Avenue, using the revenue generated by the additional sales tax on businesses in the proposed district.
The company, which owns and operates nearly 380 malls across the country, wants to remove many existing big-box buildings and repurpose the site with a central core surrounded by outlets, according to a memo from Transportation Director Bill Novack. , Engineering and Development for the city.
The two neighboring malls were built in the 1990s when big box stores dominated the shopping landscape.
Across the country, Brixmor is redeveloping outdated commercial properties by getting rid of vacant retail buildings that once housed flagship big-box stores and replacing them with junior grocery or flagship stores.
For example, the Tinley Park Village Board in 2020 approved Brixmor’s plans for a $22 million rehabilitation of the Tinley Park Plaza shopping center at 159th Street and Harlem Avenue with the help of tax increment funding.
Instead of relying on TIF money, Brixmor is asking Naperville to help pay for Westridge and Heritage Square improvements by imposing an additional sales tax – up to 1% – on items sold by businesses in the district.
It’s similar to the request made by Heinen’s Grocery Store to redevelop the neighborhood mall built in 1974 on Chicago Avenue and Olesen Drive in the far east end of the city. A project to create a business district there is under consideration by the council.
Heinen’s is asking the city to add a half percent sales tax to fund an overhaul of the property’s drainage system that caused the buildings and parking lot to deteriorate.
Heinen hired consultant Kane, McKenna and Associates, who determined that the property met the qualifications necessary for Naperville to establish a business district and levy the additional tax.
Brixmor also retained Kane, McKenna and Associates to do an appraisal of its Route 59 properties.