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Batavia OKs deal for downtown Walgreens

Updated: March 20, 2014 6:31AM

Batavia aldermen have struck a final deal with a developer proposing to build a new Walgreens store with a pharmacy drive-through in the downtown.

On Monday, aldermen voted 8 to 4 in favor of a redevelopment agreement with Batavia Enterprises for $1.143 million in tax increment financing funds and the conveyance of city-owned parking spaces for improvements at the site.

“This has been a three-year, up-and-down, through-the-loops and over the falls issue,” Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said.

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 St. to the city three years ago.

Schielke commended city staff, aldermen and the developer for working through the areas of differences that were difficult.

“I appreciate everybody who has raised an issue,” Schielke said. “I think we have all gained from those arguments and discussions. It certainly caused all of us to stop and think about what we approved, did not approve and what we changed as this progressed.”

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

Batavia Enterprises also will receive an estimated $65,000 in payments per year from the TIF funds over 12 years.

Alderman Michael O’Brien said he would have preferred to see the developer give more in the deal.

“If Walgreens were to leave our downtown without us giving everything to them, Batavia Enterprises would have been successful in getting another deal,” O’Brien said. “I don’t think the city would fall apart because Walgreens left our town.”

Schielke said after the vote that he believed the project will be beneficial for Batavia.

“I think at the end of the day Batavia and the project will be much better because of the debate, give-and-take and the cooperative spirit,” Schielke said. “This was a struggle and I hope we all walk away from this as better aldermen, city officials and business people because we know at the end of the day our hearts are in the right place.”

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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