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Batavia Walgreens project ready for City Council vote

Updated: March 14, 2014 8:39AM

The developer proposing to build a bigger Walgreens with a pharmacy drive-through in downtown Batavia will go before the Batavia City Council for a vote next week.

“Our team stands at the ready to get the work done and deliver to citizens of the community what we have done for 55 years as a company, taking pride in our developments,” said Austin Dempsey, vice president of Batavia Enterprises.

On Tuesday, aldermen voted 9 to 3 to recommend approval of a redevelopment agreement with Batavia Enterprises for $1.143 million in tax increment financing funds over a period of years and the conveyance of city-owned parking spaces for improvements at the site.

The developer originally brought his $5.5 million proposal to build a new 14,490-square-foot Walgreens store on the site of the former Swanson’s Hardware Store at 122 W. Wilson Street to the city three years ago.

The discussion reached a boiling point when Aldermen Michael O’Brien and Lucy Thelin Atac suggested postponing the vote to consider terms of the agreement and issues with parking, as well as the possibility of having to negotiate with the developer in the future.

“We might need property from Batavia Enterprises for expansion of our wastewater treatment facilities,” O’Brien said. “We may as well face it now while we are in negotiations. This is a lot of money ... we owe it to the taxpayers.”

Aldermen balked, saying it has already been a long process.

“We don’t need to complicate it any further,” Alderman Kyle Hohmann said.

Under terms of the agreement, the city will provide up to $450,000 in tax increment financing reimbursements to cover site work and remediation, as well as the need for improvements associated with poor soil.

Walgreens currently leases 12,650 square feet of storefront space at 138 W. Wilson St. within Batavia Plaza. Batavia Enterprises built the shopping plaza in 1962.

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