Tinley Park downtown project clears hurdle
By Matthew Bruce Correspondent June 20, 2012 12:14PM
Updated: July 25, 2012 6:22AM
A mixed-use building in Tinley Park’s downtown has been eight years in the making and appears to be ready to receive village board approval.
The village board last week gave preliminary approval for the Boulevard at Central Station, a five-story building along South Street that will have 167 apartments and about 24,000 square feet of retail space on its ground floor.
Tuesday’s vote was in favor of a $6 million incentive package and three zoning changes for the $34.8 million project.
Village officials cited an in-house study that estimates that the Boulevard project will have an economic impact of about $10 million in the downtown area.
The study suggests the development will create 85 jobs, net the village more than $7.5 million in new tax revenue by 2025, generating an extra $1.3 million in property tax income each year, with $930,000 of that going to fund school districts.
There will be a demand for 333 new apartments in the area near the downtown train station by 2015, and the Boulevard building, between 67th and 66th courts, would account for half of that demand, according to the study. The apartments would average about 1,250 square feet and rent for about $1,600 per month.
Some residents expressed trepidation about finding enough tenants in that price range.
“What’s going to happen if this building goes unfilled?” Larry Geraghty asked the board. “The building is here in Tinley Park. If it doesn’t rent, I’m concerned that it will go to Section 8. And I don’t believe that we want that in our town.”
Trustee Gregory Hannon, who head the village planning commission, said the local real estate market was examined extensively and suggested rising demand for apartments. The Boulevard developers also said the market has shifted strongly in favor of rentals in recent years.
“We’re trying to look forward on this particular project,” Mayor Ed Zabrocki said. “We hope the (economic) tsunami’s going to turn. It’s a gamble. I fully understand that, and this board fully understands that. But unless we sometimes take those chances, we never would have built (Brookside) shopping center at 191st Street and Harlem Avenue. That was a leap of faith.”
Under the proposed incentive package, the developers and the village would split any extra property tax revenue generated in a downtown special taxing district, up to about $3.8 million. That taxing district expires in 2025.
The village also will pay $2 million for street improvements near the new building, consent to a 10-year sales-tax sharing agreement and put a $100,000 cap on any permit fees for the project.
The project is scheduled to go before the village board July 17. If it’s approved, developers expect work to begin in the fall, with a spring 2014 completion.