Mount Prospect will use $3 million in tax dollars to help fund a longtime business's move from downtown to the Kensington Business Center, clearing the way for a proposed major redevelopment southeast of the village's Metra station.
The funding, which will come from the Prospect and Main tax increment financing district, will reimburse Parenti & Raffaelli Ltd. for its relocation last year from 215-225 E. Prospect Ave. to 1401 Feehanville Drive. The move cost the firm about $10 million, officials say.
Relocating the architectural millworking company allows developers to move forward with the Maple Street Lofts plan, which calls for the construction of 300 new residential units and 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the site. The public process for that development, which also includes improvements to a nearby commuter lot, will begin with a neighborhood open house scheduled for Sept. 19, at a location and time to be announced.
Mount Prospect Community Development Director Bill Cooney said the village has designated the site as a key development piece since 2013.
"We worked with Parenti on and off for several years in an effort to try to relocate them," Cooney said.
The plan came together after Maple Street Lofts developer Nicholas and Associates stepped in and began negotiating with the firm, resulting in the relocation plan.
The proposed mix of high-end, mid-rise apartments would be located along Prospect Avenue, while row homes would front Maple Street and Lincoln Street. The retail and restaurant component would be located at Prospect and Maple. Plans also include reconfiguring the Maple Street commuter parking lot.
The village estimates that the redevelopment would generate more than $20 million in tax revenue.
Trustee Paul Hoefert was the only board member to speak against the reimbursement, saying it is unclear how the $3 million figure was reached and expressing unhappiness that trustees weren't involved in the negotiations.
"If we had input, it hasn't been listened to," he said. "We're contributing public dollars. We should be heard as a public body, and we haven't yet."
He also voiced doubts over future revenue projections for the redevelopment, noting that the board has not yet approved any project there.
Other board members said they have faith in Nicholas and Associates, which also is developing the 20 West apartment building on the village's downtown "Busse Triangle" site.
"The estimated projections, revenues, increment generated was not just something we threw on the wall," firm President Nick Papanicholas, Jr. said. "This has been a nine- to 12-month process of looking at a six-acre parcel that included the two Parenti properties, our old office building on Lincoln Street, plus the Metra lot. And we have evolved through (maybe) eight concepts."
Mayor Arlene Juracek emphasized the value of keeping Parenti & Raffaelli in town.
"This is the world's best woodworking outfit ever," she said. "We know that (the company was) actively courted by other municipalities. We could have easily lost this jewel in our industrial crown."