Schaumburg trustees Tuesday recommended a Cook County tax incentive be granted for a proposed Blue Martini Lounge to rehab and occupy the village's largest vacant free-standing restaurant building -- the former site of Ram Restaurant & Brewery.
"Their end goal is to be open before Thanksgiving this year," Schaumburg Economic Development Director Matt Frank said.
He said there's still enough flexibility in the expected time frame to meet that goal, even if the project encounters slight delays in getting the tax incentive approved by the Cook County Board or during construction due to current COVID-19 restrictions.
The incentive would effectively cut its property taxes in half over a 12-year period.
Blue Martini Lounge is a restaurant and nightclub concept started in Florida 20 years ago. It now has nine locations including Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
As part of the Class 7A tax incentive application, trustees Tuesday also designated the 11,906-square-foot building blighted, as per a study by consultant Gruen Gruen & Associates.
The large building has been vacant since Ram closed in the fall of 2018 after nearly 19 years of operation. The site is not highly visible from major roads and the smaller, adjacent restaurant building formerly occupied by Sweet Tomatoes garnered interest only from the U.S. Postal Service, the study states.
A Class 7A tax incentive can be granted only by the county board if recommended by the municipality. The level of assessment is reduced from 25% to 10% for the first 10 years, then rises to 15% in year 11 and 20% in year 12 before returning to normal.
Given the difficulties in getting the building reoccupied, the proposal by Michael Manzo and Robert Trusz has been welcomed by the village staff, Frank said.
"This is a big win for us," he said. "We're excited."
A $1.2 million upgrade is expected after the pending $1.6 million purchase. The business plans to employ 40 full-time and 20 part-time workers.