Antioch is proceeding with the groundwork to unlock the economic potential of 50 undeveloped acres in a well-traveled part of town.
Trustees this week authorized $11,240 to study whether the village-owned property north of Grimm Road, east of Route 83 and south of Route 173, is eligible for a tax increment financing district.
In a TIF district, increases in property tax revenues are diverted to a special fund to pay for road work, extend utilities and make other development-related improvements within the district.
The village bought the site known as the Boylan property in 2015 for about $1 million, believing its location near two major corridors could make it a sales and property tax generator, as well as a future location for a public works facility.
S.B. Friedman & Company of Chicago will determine whether the land is eligible for a TIF.
"They're going to look at three different (financing) options but TIF probably makes the most sense," Mayor Larry Hanson said.
"It's a big step. The biggest cost the village will incur is the infrastructure -- you're basically going into farmland. You need to find a way to finance it."
At this point, the property remains unincorporated. Part of the village's vision is to realign the deteriorating Grimm Road and connect it with Route 173 at a 45-degree angle. The reconstructed, realigned Grimm eventually would come under the village's jurisdiction.
In related action, the village has agreed to moved ahead with a planned annexation, zoning and site plan for an expanded Kunes Country Ford of Antioch on Route 173, just north of the Boylan parcel.
Kunes plans to build a 35,372-square-foot showroom on 2.5 acres that had been unincorporated. It will increase the Kunes site to 11.5 acres, including 1.5 acres of the Boylan property the village will swap for future right of way along Grimm Road.
While the Boylan parcel has commercial potential, Antioch's auto dealers already are an important source of sales tax revenue the village wants to protect and expand.
To assist Kunes, the village board agreed this week to rebate $1.75 million in sales tax to the dealership over 25 years. The rebate will be based only on sales related to the expansion. The dealership currently does $30 million in annual sales, which equates to $300,000 per year for Antioch.
"Obviously, that's a big tax producer for us and we want to do everything we can to make it (expansion) happen," Hanson said.
Michael Garrigan, the village's community development director, said Kunes and a proposed Tractor Supply Company store on the Boylan property would be part of the potential TIF district.
"We have two major developments already happening and we're looking for financing options," he said.
Hanson said Tractor Supply Company has a contract to purchase more than 3 acres but the transaction hasn't closed.