Naperville City Council proposes adjusted Block 59 Business District

Rendered photo of Block 59 business district.
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Naperville City Council voted Tuesday to pass an ordinance proposing a business district for Block 59, after some adjustments were made from an initial proposal pitched in January. 

Impact of reduced boundaries on Block 59 sales tax

Brixmor Property Group Inc. had hoped to have the entirety of its Block 59 property stretching from Jefferson Ave. to Aurora Ave. to the east of Route 59 qualify as part of the business district, with plans for extensive renovations. The approximately 45-acre site includes the Westridge Court, Heritage Square shopping centers, and Hollywood Palms Cinema. Brixmor said the current vacancy of the combined properties is 57%.

But at a meeting in January, many on council argued that the northern part of the site didn’t seem to qualify, as some of that area had recently undergone renovations.

“I do not find this to be blighted,” said councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor at the January meeting. “I cannot support this project with the inclusion of that Aurora Ave. portion.”

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Brixmor returned with an updated proposal reducing the boundaries of the property to be included within the business district. The new proposal eliminates the northern section of the lot. Those businesses included within the redrawn business district would see a 1% sales tax.

The adjustment means meeting the company’s sales tax goal will take a bit longer than the initial 10 years it had envisioned.

“Obviously with this reduced boundary, it’s going to generate less of a sales tax,” said Andrew Balzer, project director for Brixmor Property Group Inc. “So it’s going to take longer to reach that $13.4 million target number we’ve been discussing.”

Redeveloping the area 

Brixmor plans to remove many of the existing buildings from the Heritage Square parcel, reconfiguring the site to create a “new experience-oriented center with restaurant, entertainment, and recreational uses,” as described in city documents. It will also feature a central public green space.

In its proposal, Brixmor stated that the redevelopment would attract “newer quality tenants to the area” and improved traffic flow through the area, which would result in the continued success of local retailers.

As part of the deal, Brixmor must also contribute $200,000 to install a traffic light between the Target entrance and Portillo’s.

Council voted 6-3 in favor of proposing the business district under the new proposal excluding the northern portion of the site.

Looking ahead for Block 59

Council has scheduled the Block 59 public hearing for February 21. 

During its second meeting in March, council will discuss the finalization of the business district, and the redeveloped agreement, which includes the requirement of payment for the traffic light.

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