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Hinsdale, Illinois |


Published Oct. 9, 2008

Hinsdale Club developer pulls out,
$3.2 million in sales tax dollars lost

By Christine Cuthbert

   Developers of The Hinsdale Club announced they will no longer go through with the multi-million dollar retail and hotel project on Ogden Avenue because of difficulty dealing with the village.
   In a letter to Village President Mike Woerner Monday, Peter Brennan of Foxford Development said his most recent attempt to make minor changes to the proposed plan were met with insult from trustees, which led him to cancel the deal. Changes included reducing one retails building from three floors to one floor and doing away with an underground parking garage.
   “All we have been forced to do is fight, litigate and fight some more,” Brennan wrote in his letter.
   The $3.2 million in sales tax revenue the development was slated to bring would have meant $1.1 million for the village and $2.1 million for local school districts. Brennan’s letter said it’s the board’s fault the community won’t see this revenue.
   “It has become blatantly obvious that we would have to battle for every single approval, permit or other effort that requires the involvement of the village board and/or a minority group of residents that have this community in gridlock,” he said.
   Once Woerner finished reading the letter at Tuesday night’s board meeting, Trustee Mike Smith walked out. Trustee Bob Schultz claimed Smith verbally abused Foxford developers during a recent zoning and public safety committee meeting and recommended he be removed as chairman.
   One of Smith’s concerns about the development was the possibility of a CVS pharmacy at the location. Smith didn’t like the idea of a drug store at The Hinsdale Club and claimed the row of store fronts on Ogden Avenue was going to look like a “strip center,” according to Brennan’s letter.
   “It is insulting to call our buildings a strip center and it again shows the lack of commitment on the part of the village to follow the terms of our approvals and act in support of the project,” he wrote.
   The approval for the CVS pharmacy was in the original agreement approved by the board in 2007, before Smith became a trustee. Woerner said a CVS pharmacy would have brought in high sales tax returns since the Walgreens at Grant Square is always in the top 10 revenue generators for the village.
   Instead of building high-end retail shops, restaurants, a hotel and loft apartments, Foxford will sell off all six parcels, which most likely will be used as office buildings, generating little to no tax revenue.
   “This is a significant blow to the village,” Trustee Vic Orler said. “We are doing this to ourselves. We are driving the stake into our own hearts. Hinsdale is becoming a ghost town.”
   Orler said the loss of this development will mean tens of millions lost in the community during the next few decades.
   “The net present value would be $74 million,” he said.
   Frustrated, Woerner couldn’t comprehend how a year ago the project was approved unanimously and now the developers want nothing to do with Hinsdale.
   “That $3.2 million has to come from somewhere,” he said. “If it doesn’t come from this, it’s going to have to come from property taxes. This is just very unfortunate. It’s just sad.”






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