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City Council Again Delays Decision on Apartment Proposal

Financial safeguard details remain unresolved.

The Wheaton City Council remains somewhat divided on the need for financial protection related to its TIF money investment in a proposed downtown apartment complex.

On Monday, the council met in a special session to again consider a redevelopment agreement and the overall plan by Morningside Equities to build the 306-unit building on a vacant block bounded by Wesley, Cross, Front and Scott streets.

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City Manager Don Rose said details of a letter of credit and a subordination agreement remained in flux since the council met a week ago, with some information on what Morningside's lender, Bank of America, wants not reaching council members until late Monday afternoon.

"I just got these packets now," council member Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti said. "I don't make decisions like this off the cuff."

The council will again consider Morningside's proposal and the redevelopment at its July 2 meeting.

As happened last week, some on the council preferred to have some assurance it will recoup approximately $500,000 in upfront costs, paid via Tax Increment Financing funds, to bury power lines. A letter of credit has been discussed as the most likely way to achieve that, but council members do not want to pay $30,000 in maintenance fees on the letter and want it be in place until the project is nearly completed.

Council member John Rutledge suggested Morningside put the money into an escrow account, which would also eliminate the maintenance fees. Council member Jeanne Ives indicated she'd go along with Rutledge's idea, but put the entire financial issue into perspective while expressing her support for the overall project. She said the $500,000 investment totals about two percent of Morningside's estimated $60 million project. The city has invested a greater percentage of TIF money in other projects with less general benefit, she said.

"They are building some distinctive public spots that people can enjoy, that will be more attractive to our downtown," Ives offered. (Morningside) has been more than patient with our process."

Last week, Morningside President David Strosberg expressed frustration with the length of time it has taken to get final approval from the city. Rose said he would speak Strosberg before the next meeting to discuss alternatives to the letter of credit. While no decisions were made, he said the meeting "established the council's perspective."

Morningside's proposal, called Wheaton 121, would build the complex at 218 Wesley Street with TIF District 2 funds for public improvements, including public plazas, street lighting, curb improvements and public benches.

The most expensive public improvement will be the burial of overhead utility lines along the west and north sides of the property for an estimated $500,000, Rose previously told Council.

, Morningside initially requested $2.3 million for assistance with several planned improvement projects, including utility relocation and improvements, site amenities such as light poles, benches, trash, recycling receptacles and bike racks, public plazas with fountain features and seating, a detention and lift station required because of the depth of Wheaton’s sewers, environmental remediation, design, construction and management. Rent for the apartment complex is expected to range between $1,000 and $2,300 per month, excluding utilities.

Molly R. O'Brien June 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Why all of this discussion? If Jeanne did her homework and found it to be OK, let's get this project started. She has brought all of this development to Wheaton with innovative ideas and hardwork, let's not let a bunch of lawyers and political hacks screw it up. Watch out Madigan and RINOs in Springfield, there will be a new sheriff in town and business as usual will be a thing of the past.
John Mihas June 26, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Molly why don't you list all the developments that Jeanne has solely brought into Wheaton? You have never listed one project. Also why did she give away 100,000 dollars of taxpayer money to the new Aveda salon?
Five and Fly June 26, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Molly (or the Punky QB jimmy ) it's fascinating that Jeanne Ives was only in office for 1 year and 4mos and have the done the following: * BLOW HORN how Jeanne had Clean up corrupt Wheaton government single handily for the first 3 months of office.. * BLOW HORN for the next 12 month, promoting Jeanne's Honor code and her 3 months months of experience blowing the horn about Wheaton corruption, while using the paid employees,of corrupt Milton township to promote Jeanne's run for State office. Molly (JIMMY) let sleeping dog lie. The story of the help Milton township given Jeanne shall sink the boats of Chris, Ralph, and Gail and the rest of the gang that run Milton as well as muddy Jeanne's white dress a little... I bet Madigan is licking his chops with this knowledge about Jeanne... when she get down to Springfield and finds out why Madigan is called the dark lord.
Molly R. O'Brien June 27, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Just like how Reagan had all of these nattering nabobs of negativism, Jeanne will overcome. She is the only member of Counci that gets it, i.e. the big picture. Development and freedom. @ Andy a/k/a 5 & fly Hinkle is clean in all his ways. There is no better Christian than him.
Tom Mouhelis June 27, 2012 at 02:51 AM
give me a call molly and let's talk
Five and Fly June 27, 2012 at 09:26 AM
Molly... get your head out of the sand and " smell-the-meat-acookin" "http://choateweinberg.typepad.com/the_choateweinberg_report/2008/12/he-could-smell-the-meat-acookin.html Jeanne's sign capt was Ralph, a Milton township employee, who used tax payer resources, Ie cell phone, time... etc... to help Jeanne to get elected to the Illinois state house. Ask, Maria, the treasurer of Jeanne campaign and Milton trustee how much Jeanne saved with Ralph's and Chris's help... All of which will come out soon. http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2012/05/whats-wrong-with-milton-township.html
John Mihas June 27, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Molly you provide no substance as usual. You never answer questions, but just attack.
Molly R. O'Brien June 27, 2012 at 03:16 PM
All you do is attack Jeanne. You are just jealous that in a male dominated world she won because of her qualifications. She took on the establishment and won, while all of the yes men did what the party bosses told them and supported Carlin. Go Jeanne Go Jeanne Go Jeanne
John Mihas June 27, 2012 at 04:06 PM
you are assuming that, Molly is real person.
John Mihas June 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM
thanks for proving my point, no substance just hot air
Five and Fly June 27, 2012 at 08:48 PM
That's right John, Molly (I think she the alter ego of Jimmey MacMaon...(sp) has no substance at all

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