Mount Prospect trustees this week passed a sales tax sharing agreement with the developer of Mount Prospect Pointe that will enable a long-awaited traffic light along Rand Road to be built at the site.
The agreement between the village and Speed-GMX Mount Prospect LLC, the group that has developed the old Mitchell Buick site in the 800 block of East Rand Road, will shift some of the burden of the cost for the light onto the village's shoulders.
The traffic light will improve a troubled intersection result and make sure the site is fully developed, village officials said.
The site, which is directly across from Walmart, is already up and running with a new Buona Beef restaurant. The Tile Shop and Texas Roadhouse will join it, filling out three-fourths of the retail mix.
Community Development Director Bill Cooney said one of the conditions for the original approval of the project was that the traffic signal at the northern access point for Walmart line up with the main drive and that the developer would pay all costs of its installation.
But the review process with the Illinois Department of Transportation has taken more than 1½ years, Cooney said. "And through that process, IDOT has made several requests that have expanded the scope of that project from a roughly $400,000 installation of a signal to over $900,000."
The extra work includes roadway improvements, relocation of light poles and electrical work.
The developer pleaded that without the village's help, the extra cost would result in a loss on the project.
"They are basically saying they couldn't afford to do it," he said.
Cooney said village staff had consultant SB Friedman Development Advisors review the data to confirm the developer's need for village assistance.
The 10-year agreement calls for the village to share half of all sales and food and beverage taxes generated from the property with Speed-GMX, rebating up to $400,000 to cover a portion of the cost to install the traffic signal. The village expects the amount would be paid back in approximately four years.
Cooney told the board that the signal would provide a benefit beyond the development, helping to meet the village's goal of improving traffic flow at the intersection of Rand Road, Central Road and Mount Prospect Road.
The vote was unanimous, but Trustee Paul Hoefert had questions, saying to Cooney at one point, "Bill, you said that the developer will be losing money on the development. But the fact is that it will just take them longer to make money on the development. Because they are going to make money on the development."
Village Manager Michael Cassady stepped in to clarify, saying, "I think the key point here is the developer was going to abandon the signal, and we were then going to be fighting with this developer, who wants to open three national brands like right now, because they're withdrawing their support of an ordinance requirement for the signal."
He added, "That light is a linchpin for us to make improvements downstream at Mount Prospect Road (and) Rand."