City officials will consider a developer's request for tax-increment financing (TIF) funding assistance for public enhancements in development of the old Jewel property, but some say they're inclined to put the money toward the downtown strategic plan.
Mokena-based developer Olympia Investments has requested the city's approval to demolish the former Jewel building at 114 E. Willow Ave. and build a three-story medical office building in its place.
City Manager Don Rose said at a planning session Monday that the developer will probably ask for TIF assistance of as much as $1.1 million for public enhancements included in the project.
He told council members he wanted to address the city's TIF funding policy to consider how the money should be used.
"We've also discussed whether remaining funds in (the) TIF 1 and TIF 2 districts should be used to construct various public improvements that (are) likely to come out of the strategic planning process," he said.
He said projected fund balances for the city's TIF 1 and TIF 2 districts will be about $2.7 million and $12 million to $17 million when they expire in fiscal years 2017-18 and 2022-23, respectively.
While city consultant Design Workshop has not yet laid out ideas for specific improvements and their costs in downtown Wheaton, Rose said he thinks they will be "fairly expensive."
Councilman Tom Mouhelis said the city's most important issue is driving development to downtown Wheaton and attracting people to shop.
"The old Jewel property development will not bring sales tax revenues," he said. "Will it bring people (downtown)? Yeah. To shop? I don't know. I'd rather see our monies being spent on the redevelopment of downtown."
Councilman Todd Scalzo said while he doesn't want to make a decision without all of the information, he would not be inclined to grant the developer the full amount they request.
Councilwoman Evelyn Pacino-Sanguinetti said she's also inclined to say "no," because the developer will benefit from the city's public improvements.
She said she'd like to look at TIF-eligible components of the project because they would improve public parts of the development, "(but) I also know they'll benefit from the fruits of our strategic labor."