Category: Economic Development

Maywood Gets $206K, Melrose Park Gets $203K for Bike Lanes | Video Cameras for New Maywood Metra Station | More

IMG_6083

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) addresses community members during a July 15 town hall held at village council chambers, 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. | Michael Romain/VFP

Friday, July 28, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a town hall meeting he convened in Maywood on July 15, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st) announced that the county board was set to approve a grant of around $206,000 to install a bike path along Washington Blvd.

The county board unanimously approved the grant, which is part of a $7.2 million county-wide highway improvement project, at a regular meeting on July 19.

Formally called the 2017 Invest in Cook Awards, the projects are designed to provide incentives to municipalities to encourage “non-auto” forms of transportation.

Continue reading “Maywood Gets $206K, Melrose Park Gets $203K for Bike Lanes | Video Cameras for New Maywood Metra Station | More”

Advertisements

Maywood Business Expands Thanks to County Brownfield Grant

IMG_6063

Seaway Supply Company owner Tom Engoren inside of his Maywood-based company on July 13. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with numerous other elected officials, were at Seaway to announce the results of a brownfield grant. | Michael Romain/VFP

IMG_6050Thursday, July 13, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Tom Engoren, the owner of Seaway Supply Co., located at 15 N. 9th Ave. in Maywood, said that a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allowed his business to stay, and possibly expand, in Maywood.

Seaway Supply, which deliveries janitorial products, office supplies and other materials throughout the Chicago area, is looking to acquire a gravel parcel adjacent its Maywood location that’s currently owned by the village.

The company wants to turn the parcel into a fenced-in parking lot and eventually use the land to possibly develop even more warehouse or office space in the future. Seaway has been located in Maywood for around six years, Engoren said.

But the village-owned land is located on a brownfield, which is “property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the
presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant,” according to the U.S. EPA.

The contamination is often petroleum-related. Examples of brownfield sites include “old gas stations, auto service businesses, factories, mill sites, shipyards, transit stations, and junkyards,” the EPA notes.

Typically, a business looking to build, expand or redevelop an area that’s suspected to be contaminated has to pay to conduct soil tests and, if those tests find that the area has been polluted or contaminated, then the business also has to pay for the necessary cleanup.

An official with Weaver Consultants Group, the firm that Cook County contracted with to provide environmental testing and remediation services, said that it can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to conduct phase one soil testing. Phase two cleanup efforts start at around $15,000 to $20,000.

The EPA grant — which was administered by the Cook County Department of Environmental Control in collaboration with the villages of Maywood, Bellwood, Melrose Park, Forest Park, Schiller Park, Northlake and Franklin Park — basically pays for those phase one and phase two costs. The county received the grant money in 2014.

“These tests, while they’re not terribly expensive, they’re not cheap,” said Engoren. “Even before you buy the [land], you have to invest money to just look at it and consider it. This program takes the guesswork out of the process for potential buyers.”

Engoren added that completing the environmental remediation process also clears a big hurdle for businesses trying to access the necessary credit to fund expansion and redevelopment efforts. As of press time, it wasn’t known how the land that Seaway is trying to acquire got contaminated. Seaway is located in an area zoned for industrial and manufacturing uses.

According to estimates by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, there are nearly 90 brownfield parcels located in western Cook County. And the Illinois State Fire Marshall has counted 684 petroleum-related Underground Storage Tank (UST) locations in the seven municipalities participating in the grant program.

The CNT estimates that there are 17 brownfield parcels in Maywood alone that cover nearly 50 acres, six brownfield parcels in Bellwood covering 17 acres and nine brownfield parcels in Melrose Park covering nearly 50 acres.

Brownfields

Maywood brownfield sites targeted by EPA grant 

Maywood Brownfields.png

Bellwod and Melrose Park brownfield sites targeted by EPA grant 

Bellwood_Melrose Park Brownfields

“This program is truly an economic development driver,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins during a July 13 press conference convened at Seaway Supply to mark the completion of the grant program.

“This program allowed Maywood to receive funding for environmental assessments that will lead to redevelopment of several vacant lots that had not hope for redevelopment.”

In all, the grant program identified and assessed 30 sites in the seven aforementioned coalition communities that cover 127 acres. Currently, more than 120 acres are in the process of redevelopment or are being planned for future reuse, according to a statement released by Cook County Board President on June 13.

“Brownfield sites are difficult to redevelop,” Preckwinkle said at the June 13 press conference. “By freeing up these sites for reinvestment, we not only protect the environment but we reduce eyesores for these communities.”

IMG_6056

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and other elected officials inside of Seaway Supply Co. on June 13. | Michael Romain/VFP

In addition to Seaway Supply Company, other sites that were tested and/or cleaned up include the former Maywood Racetrack in Melrose Park, six parcels that sit on over five acres in Bellwood and several more parcels in Maywood that cover nearly four acres.

“I can think of no better place for this to happen than in the village of Maywood,” said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district includes Maywood and Bellwood.

“Maywood has had significant challenges relating to unemployment and businesses leaving … This is a shot in the arm for businesses that want to expand, want jobs and want to work here. It’s good for our tax base, it’s good for everybody.” VFP

DON’T MISS THIS!Business reception Detailed Flyer_July

 

Maywood Board Approves Special Use Permit for Church Seeking to Expand

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 2.04.14 PM

New Hope Christian Center, 14 S. 19th Ave. | Google Earth

Friday, June 23, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a June 20 regular meeting, the Maywood Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance approving a special use permit that would allow New Hope Christian Center, 14 S. 19th Ave., to buildout and modify existing unoccupied commercial space.

The space, located at 2 South 19th Ave., is separated from the church facility by a vacant, fenced-in lot. The church owns both properties. Mayor Edwenna Perkins and Trustee Kimyada Wellington abstained from voting.

Wellington explained that she would not be voting because she’s related to New Hope’s pastor, Bishop Anthony G. Wellington. Perkins did not offer an explanation for her abstention at the June 20 meeting and could not be contacted on Friday afternoon to comment.

Months before the vote, however, several trustees had expressed some wariness about permitting the special use.

According to a business plan that Wellington submitted on behalf of his church, the new facility would host weekly job training sessions, prayer meetings, “biblical guidance sessions” and “biblical enhancement sessions.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 2.04.28 PM

A space, located at 2 South 19th Ave., that New Hope is seeking to turn into usable space. | Google Earth

But village staff members and some board members stated that were worried that “this project may be an expansion of the [tax-exempt] church into the C2 Pedestrian Oriented Commercial District,” according to an April 26 village memo written by Josh Koonce, the village’s planning and zoning officer.

An a Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting in April, former trustee Michael Rogers expressed some reservations over the village allowing the church to turn the commercial property, which currently generates commercial property taxes, into tax-exempt property.

“The whole concept of our [taking the] limited commercial property that we have off the tax rolls is problematic,” Rogers said.

“That zone, when you cross the tracks, is called Broadway. That’s a heavy commercial usage. The non-conforming uses already there are grandfathered in, but it’s important not to lose any more commercial property with the straits that the village is in.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 2.03.26 PM

An architectural drawing of New Hope’s plans for its new training facility. 

The board nonetheless voted to allow the matter to go to the village’s plan commission, which, on May 30, voted in favor of the special use permit. According to the ordinance, the permit is limited to “the types of educational and job training activities” laid out in Wellington’s application. VFP

For more local news, ‘Like’ VFP on Facebookfacebook logo

 

Construction Trades Training Center to Open in Bellwood this October

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 4.36.06 PM

Bellwood Training center_2

The future site of a new training center for apprentices of the Cement Masons Local 502 and the Plasterers Local 5, which is scheduled to for completion in October. | Michael Romain/VFP 

Bellwood Training Center_3Tuesday, May 30, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews 

A new training center for apprentices of the Cement Masons Local 502 and the Plasterers Local 5 is going up at the corner of 25th Ave. and Madison St. in Bellwood. The 20,000-sq. ft. facility is scheduled to be complete by October, according to a report published last month in the Construction Industry Service Corporation‘s newsletter.

“We are very excited about moving into this new facility,” Pat LaCassa, the president of Local 502, told CISCO. “We need to continue to attract young men and women into these trades and having state of the art classrooms and dedicated areas for instruction of the craft is vital.”

Larry Picardi, Local 502’s secretary-treasurer said that the local has never had its own training center. The new facility, which is going up next door to the Cement Masons Union Hall, will provide union members with a campus-like environment, Picardi told CISCO.

The union has been utilizing training facilities in Alsip for the past two years, he said.

Bellwood training center

An architectural rendering of the new facility. | Forza Design

Groundbreaking

“The new Apprenticeship Training Center will also contain 10,000 sf of space dedicated to the instruction of pouring, finishing and removing concrete, as well as areas where work on floors, curbs, stairs and other aspects of the trade will occur.” CISCO reported.

“On the Plasterers side, additional space will be constructed where apprentices will be instructed on the latest techniques; with an emphasis on critical life-safety applications, and current fire-proofing methods.”

According to the CISCO report, 93 cement masons and 18 plasterers are currently enrolled in the apprenticeship program.

Read the full CISCO article hereVFP

Photo above right: From left: Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey; Pat LaCassa, President and Business Manager of Cement Masons Local 502; Former Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale; Larry Picardi, Secretary-Treasurer of Cement Masons Local 502; Tom Abruzzo, Vice President of Forza Construction; and Anthony Abruzzo, President of Forza Design & Consulting Inc.

For more local news, ‘Like’ VFP on Facebookfacebook logo

Afriware Ad_May2017

A Grocery Store Looks to Open Inside Former Maywood Market

Maywood Market

The former Maywood Market, located at 615 S. 5th Ave., which closed in 2011. | Google Earth

Thursday, April 27, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Less than six months after Aldi — Maywood’s only full-service grocery store — closed, another grocer is looking to move into the village.

Ali Hamden, an entrepreneur who has owned and operated a range of different businesses over the last 25 years, is looking to open a grocery store, Save More Fresh Market, inside of the building that once housed the former Maywood Market, located at 615 S. 5th Ave. Maywood Market closed in 2011 after fewer than two years in operation.

Unlike Aldi, the Germany-based international discount grocery store that closed its Maywood location at 215 Madison Street in December, Hamden is an independent entity who, since 1988, has owned and operated a 7-Eleven, a string of neighborhood grocers and two gas stations.

He also buys, fixes, and either holds or re-sells single family homes, multifamily buildings and commercial properties. Hamden, who owns AH Group, is currently in negotiations to open a Save-A-Lot grocery store in the Chicago area and a 15,000-square-foot Save More Fresh Market grocery store in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

According to a letter of intent filed in January, Hamden has offered to pay $400,000 for the 22,000 square foot building, which is located on a roughly 61,000 square foot paved lot. Maywood owns both the building and the lot.

The Pearson Realty Group, the village’s contracted broker, suggested that the building and lot be listed at $595,000 and estimated that they could probably fetch between $505,000 and $545,000 in a final sale.

At an April 26 Legal, License and Ordinance Committee (LLOC) meeting, Hamden said that his offer “only reflects the fact that we have been through [the building] only once.” He said he didn’t know the condition of the roof. Hamden’s letter of intent states that his offer “reflects the fact that significant electrical repairs need to be made.”

This year, the village budgeted $30,000 to maintain the former Maywood Market. In the past, village officials have reported on numerous acts of vandalism that have taken place on the premises.

Hamden is asking for a Class 8 tax abatement, which would significantly lower the amount that he pays in property taxes on the store and surrounding lot each year. According to village data, the taxes owed on the facility and the lot totaled over $230,000 in 2013. A Class 8 incentive would have lowered that amount to around $87,000.

Hamden estimates that the village could realize $60,000 a year in property tax revenue and $40,000 a year in sales tax revenue, which would total around $1.6 million over 10 years.

According to preliminary projections provided by Hamden, Save More Fresh Market could generate between $3 million and $4.7 million in sales revenue each year. Hamden said that he’ll utilize all of the square footage that was utilized by Maywood Market, including the bakery and hot food areas.

In addition, Hamden said, his store will produce its own brand of specialized products that will sell in both the Maywood and Uptown stores.

“This will give us a good opportunity to compete with big stores around us,” Hamden said. “I’m looking for a bigger facility. We need a warehouse and want an easier way to operate trucks. We’ll have a full line of meat, produce, grocery and non-grocery items. We will not sell liquor or tobacco. We are strictly a supermarket for the community.”

Hamden’s AH Group had secured a loan of up to $700,000 from Chicago Bridge Loan, which would be used to finance the acquisition of the property.

Hamden isn’t the only prospect that has been attracted to the former Maywood Market.

In an interview earlier this year, Village Manager Willie Norfleet Jr., said that roughly three other suitors had expressed interest in the property, including EATS Groceries owner Thom Alcazar, who describes EATS as a “concierge-type shopping experience.”

In an interview in February, Alcazar said that the majority of EATS would be warehouse space, with customers making orders from kiosks or from their homes or businesses, since EATS would also entail delivering groceries to various locations. At the time, however, Alcazar had not made an offer on the Maywood property.

After Wednesday’s LLOC meeting, village board members went into executive session to discuss Hamden’s offer. The negotiations between the village and Hamden are ongoing. VFP

For more local news, ‘Like’ VFP on Facebook

facebook logo

JoAnn Murphy_Public

Could the ‘Grocery Store of the Future’ Land in Maywood? Thom Alcazar Hopes So

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 2.48.54 PM.png

Screenshot from an EATS informational video on its website. Below left, EATS Groceries founder Thom Alcazar. 

thom_alcazar.jpgThursday, February 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Thom Alcazar, the founder of Alcazar, Ltd., a consulting firm that provides expert knowledge in business automation, believes that he has a blockbuster idea on his hands and wants to deliver it to economically distressed communities like Chicago’s North Lawndale and Austin, and suburbs like Maywood.

It’s called EATS Groceries, and if Alcazar and his team have their way, the store could be housed in the old Maywood Market building at the corner of 5th Ave. and Washington Blvd. within roughly a year’s time after securing a deal.

On the surface, it’s an innovative concept that’s smoothly articulated in a neat, roughly 2-minute video on the EATS website.

“Shopping has become a chore,” the baritone-voiced narrator says. “Long aisles, long lines and screechy carts to push. Eats provides a safe and convenient concierge-type shopping experience, as well as transportation along major routes to our locations.”

Trained assistants, the voice-over notes, will guide shoppers to digital kiosks, where customers would place orders and receive assistance in other matters. Cooking demo kiosks will provide 30-minute tastings of “low-cost, healthy meal samples.”

Once the orders are punched into the kiosks, representatives in a warehouse will put them together and pack them “as they are received through the touch-screen shopping.”

Customers at EATS, the narrator says, won’t have to worry about waiting lines, cold aisles, inconsistent temperature controls or stress. The whole concept seems pulled from an episode of the Jetsons, which may both appeal and repulse, depending on the demographic.

During a public meeting about the concept held last week at St. Eulalia Parish in Maywood, Alcazar fielded some concerns from residents, some of whom expressed discomfort with the idea of grocery shopping on a kiosk.

And according to some older residents in Maywood, the old-fashioned shopping experience — replete with screeching carts and long lines — is a long way from stressful; in fact, they said, it’s actually therapeutic.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 2.49.37 PM.png

For some younger, working professionals, who may have much less time and patience for the supermarket, the idea is much easier to grasp. One who was interviewed last week said the idea of a ‘concierge’ anything makes her perk up at the prospect of such luxe-style treatment. She was open to it, although she admitted that she was still trying to wrap her head around the concept’s details.

So far, EATS has made no offer to purchase the village-owned building. Alcazar said that before his team attempts to deal, they want to make sure there’s sufficient community buy-in — both from residents and village officials.

The latter want to make sure that Alcazar’s team has sufficient capital to buy the building and finance their own operations (unlike the owners of the former Maywood Market, who required a $250,000 loan, which undersigned by the village, just to manage their expenses).

For their part, Alcazar said, the EATS team wants to make sure that village officials understand their social enterprise motive. More than a mere supermarket, EATS would focus not just on profits, but on creating promising career paths, providing healthy food options and stimulating customer traffic for local businesses in areas that have suffered from decades of economic disinvestment, they argue.

In an exhaustive interview last week, Alcazar answered a series of questions about the business and explained why he believes that Maywood could be a pioneer for a grocery store model that could have national appeal. Some of his answers have been paraphrased and condensed.

VFP: I guess one of the major fears that community members may have is that you would essentially be experimenting with Maywood — it would be the site of your first location and all kinds of things could go wrong. What prior experience can you point to in order to ease people’s concerns about the lack of defined track record?

Alcazar: [He mentioned the combined experience of the EATS team, which can be viewed in-depth by clicking here]. Robertino Presta, CEO of Caputo’s Fresh Markets, operates eight fresh market grocery stores in the Chicago area. They’re considered one of the highest quality stores in the area.

We’re going to start out buying through Caputo’s. So, that’s production we already have setup. They’ll be one of our wholesale suppliers. We’ll also be using a lot of local, urban farming whenever possible, which is part of being a social enterprise.

VFP: What about the capital concerns?

Alcazar: If we ever need access to more than what we’re expecting to need, we’ve got access to capital. I just met with five funding agencies at Merchandise Mart [last Tuesday] and we’re their model. There are a lot people who will want to take credit for what we’re going to do. We’re going to have neighborhoods across the United States bidding to get us to come in.

VFP: What advantage would EATS have over conventional grocery stores?

Alcazar: Traditionally, the supermarket industry is a low-profit industry. The average profit margin for supermarkets nationwide is between 1 and 2 percent.

When you consider typical annual inventory shrinkage — which is the difference between the amount of inventory that you should on paper versus what you end up having in actuality (after accounting for customer and vendor theft, and other things) — that profit margin gets even thinner.

[According to a report by the National Retail Federation that was reported on by Forbes in 2015, “Shrinkage, along with administrative errors, cost U.S retailers about 1.4% of their 2014 sales.”]

Why do the supermarkets in [many economically depressed communities] leave? The retail shrinkage from shoplifting, employee theft and vendor theft goes up to over 5 percent in those communities. You can’t make money like that.

We don’t have that problem because we’re basically a warehouse. Whatever product we have that someone would steal is in the warehouse, but we’ll still employ ex-offenders because we’d be protected. Everything in the warehouse is filmed, there’s plenty of surveillance and we don’t accept cash. There’s no checkout. You’d simply input your debit, credit card or LINK card and start spending.

VFP: Where will you get the technology?

Alcazar: The technology already exists. There’s nothing we’d be doing that’s new. We’re just assembling what’s already available and putting it into a retail environment. So, that gives us more advantages.

For instance, by not having people fondle the food, we’re throwing away 25 percent less of it. We also have lower operating costs because we won’t need any cashiers.

Marriano’s might have 400 employees to put out the same amount of sales we put out with 170 employees. Their store has a lot of duplication (employees running down aisles, display product that gets damaged and thrown away, open refrigerators, cold aisles, high utility costs, etc.). We don’t have any of that. Our customer area will be tiny. Marianno’s has to make up for that loss with higher prices.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 2.51.26 PM.png

VFP: You say, on the one hand, that you’ll be able to provide all these great job opportunities for ex-offenders in low-income areas, but on the other hand, you’re arguing that your labor costs are going to be very low compared to traditional grocery stores. How do you square the two?

Alcazar: To be honest, we’re going to have a hard time trying to keep employees because the industry I’m in, which is supply chain management, doesn’t have enough workers. We have more people retiring than coming in. But supply chain is the future of the country and the world. We don’t have a lot of low-paying, crappy jobs. Those are becoming obsolete.

When these guys get trained, they’ll probably quit and go on to better careers and better jobs, so we’re going to be a job incubator that will keep hiring locally all of the time. Every time someone leaves, they’ll leave better trained, with greater experience and they’ll be able to buy homes in the community.

VFP: Can you name some of the specific skills that you’ll train people for?

Alcazar: Marketing jobs, customer service, information technology, radio frequency access points, scanning all of the product — all of these things go along with the supply chain. We’ll need people to be able to calculate minimums and maximums, and reevaluate the amount of inventory for each item.

These skills teach you how to be cost-effective and how to run your own business. We’ll have an apprentice level, an expert level and a master level, with everybody able to work up to higher levels. We’ll need as many master levels as possible, so they can train people at the lower levels.

VFP: You talked about EATS being a concierge service. Have you talked with any local institutions about being a food supplier?

Alcazar: We will have one route that does drop-off deliveries daily. This came about after we met with the head of Loyola University Medical Center and explained the process. Loyola said they would be willing to setup a drop-off point at the medical center and staff the distribution. We’d also do drop-offs to Madden, Hines, Triton, Dominican, Concordia and even some of the senior centers in the area. VFP

Alcazar will be meeting with the Maywood Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Commission tonight, Thursday, Feb. 9, 6 p.m., at 125 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood. Anyone who would like to learn more about EATS or field questions, comments or concerns directly to Alcazar may attend this meeting. To download the EATS informational flyer, click here.

Four Grocers Eyeing Maywood Market Property, One Grocer to Reveal Concept at Meeting Tonight, Feb. 2

Maywood Market

The site of the former Maywood Market grocery store, which closed in 2011. | Google Earth

Thursday, February 2, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 2/3/17

It’s been a little more than a month since Aldi, the village’s only full-service grocery store, exited Maywood, but things are already looking up, says Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. Maywood’s top administrator said that he’s confident that a grocer will secure the former Maywood Market grocery store, located at the corner of 5th Ave. and Washington Blvd., within the year. The property is currently owned by the village.

“Each day that goes by, the odds get stronger and stronger because of one factor — you don’t have to compete with Aldi,” Norfleet said in a recent phone interview. “I know [a vendor will purchase the former Maywood Market] very soon.”

Norfleet said that, last year, the village entertained at least four prospective tenants, all grocers, that are looking to setup shop at the boarded up location. He didn’t identify them or reveal their sizes (i.e., whether they’re independent stores or national chains).

Whichever can negotiate an agreement first, he said, would be poised to capture a market with little competition now that Aldi is no longer in the village. Last year, Aldi announced that it was closing its Maywood location due to increasing property taxes and declining sales revenue.

One of those prospective vendors is Thom Alcazar’s EATS Groceries, an unconventional supermarket that is designed to bring high-end services and quality food to food deserts, or areas where residents are located at relatively long distances from supermarkets and other sources of quality meats, fruits and vegetables.

Alcazar, a logistics and supply-chain expert, has eyed Maywood and Chicago’s North Lawndale area as two prospective areas he’s willing to locate his concept, which Chicago Tribune reporter Mary Schmich described last year:

“Everything about this store is different. Instead of aisles of groceries, the shoppers are greeted by touch-screen kiosks and cheerful shopping assistants who show them how to order with their fingers.

“You want bananas? Touch here. Green or ripe? Touch here.

“Many of the shoppers — single mothers, grandmothers — come with kids, and while the adults work the kiosk, the kids are escorted to the kid zone to play and eat healthy treats.

“Meanwhile, in the back, the cold, giant warehouse is bustling. Workers, many of them ex-felons who before this store arrived couldn’t find a job, line up along a conveyor belt, loading the orders into grocery totes. They’re all wearing gloves, ensuring that the fruits and vegetables, unlike most supermarket produce, haven’t been squeezed and poked countless times by whoknowswho with Godknowswhat on their hands.”

In a phone interview Wednesday, Alcazar said that an EATS architect has drawn up plans for the former Maywood Market site and the site of the shuttered Moo & Oink in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. The store closed in 2011, around the time when Maywood Market shut down.

The village had put up more than $3 million in taxpayer money towards the store’s development. Last year, the village paid off a $250,000 loan, taken out for the purposes of floating cash flow operations, on which the Maywood Market developer defaulted in 2011. When the lender, the now-defunct Seaway Bank, couldn’t find the developer, it decided to pursue the village.

Alcazar said that the Maywood Market building is in much better condition than Moo & Oink and “is a little more ready to move into.” He said the store could be open within a year after his team acquires the property.

“We’ve already determined that [Maywood Market] would be adequate for our needs, what we don’t know is the political aspect,” Alcazar said, adding that “if the trustees want us there, we’d take over the property.”

Last year, Alcazar told Austin Weekly News that he was waiting “to get $5 million in Tax Increment Financing district funding. Once he gets the TIF funds, he said, he’ll purchase the building.”

Norfleet said that EATS hasn’t made any serious offer to purchase the former Maywood Market despite village officials conducting at least two walk-thru’s with Alcazar’s team. Norfleet said that the board isn’t interested in giving the property away for free. The village manager didn’t disclose the property’s appraised value.

“If a business is not able to purchase the property, what’s the likelihood that the business will survive? We’ll just be in the same scenario we were in before,” said Norfleet. “If you need public funds to finance the grocery store, you’re going about it the wrong way.”

Nor fleet said that village officials want to find a grocer for Maywood Market that can recapture sales taxes that, currently, are leaking out of Maywood and being captured by other villages.

“A new grocery store would help diversify our revenue flow,” Norfleet said. “It would help to stanch some of that sales tax leakage.”

Norfleet said that sales tax revenue is the village’s third-highest source of income. Last year, the village realized $12 million from property taxes, $3 million from income taxes and $1.6 million from sales taxes.

He said he couldn’t say how much sales tax revenue Maywood stands to lose now that Aldi is closed, adding that, often, business try keeping those figures confidential.

“However much it is, we’ll feel the loss,” Norfleet said, before pointing out an obscure silver lining in Aldi’s exit.

“They still have to pay property taxes on that building and if the incentives run out, they’ll possibly pay more,” he said. “You can see how they might have great interest in selling that building.”

Alcazar and EATS officials are scheduled to discuss his concept with community members tonight, Feb. 2, 8 p.m., at St. Eulalia Parish, 1851 S. 9th Ave. in Maywood. For more info on EATS, click hereVFP

For more local news, ‘Like’ VFP on Facebook

Facebook Like