Yorkville aldermen had glowing reviews Tuesday for an incentive package exceeding $2 million to bring a 10-screen movie theater to the Countryside Center, the subject of a problematic tax increment financing district.
Developer Jim Ratos would build the 37,500-square-foot theater for Neighborhood Cinema Group, an Owosso, MI,-based company that operates 14 first-run theaters in small communities. The theater would sit on the lot closest to Route 47; preliminary plans show four commercial lots in Countryside Center.
The theater could employ 50 people and open Nov. 15, 2013.
“They are a hometown feel-type company," said Jason Pesola of Pesola Media Group, speaking on behalf of the theater company. "Once you get to know them, you’ll see it right away.”
The new agreement would deplete the bond proceeds sitting in the city's Countryside TIF funds while providing new property tax dollars for the fund.
The city is paying more than $300,000 a year on bonds issued in the Countryside TIF fund, which is receiving less than $10,000 a year from investments and taxes. That means the $1.8 million TIF fund balance – which could provide incentives for a developer – is eroding as the property sits vacant.
The property was once the subject of two tax increment financing (TIF) district agreements: One in 2005 included 80,000 in retail space; another in 2008 included 166,000 square feet in retail space. After foreclosure proceedings, the parcel belongs to Bank of America.
Aldermen didn't formalize any agreement's at Tuesday's City Council meeting, but complimented the preliminary plan.
“This is exactly the kind of forward thinking we need for Yorkville," Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo said. "I’m pretty excited about it.”
Ward 2 Alderman Larry Kot mentioned the local job market.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard kids in our community, high school kids, saying, 'I can’t find any jobs. I can’t find any jobs,'" Kot said. "Hopefully, this will address that.”
Related article: Countryside TIF District Still Presents Challenges