Pickup-only Walmart in Lincolnwood approved
by KEVIN GROSS
The Lincolnwood Village Board of Trustees at its meeting Oct. 16 approved an ordinance allowing a new Walmart pickup-only grocery store in the former Dominick’s store at 6850 N. McCormick Blvd. that would open by the spring of next year.
Customers at the proposed 42,000-square-foot Walmart store would order items online and wait in assigned parking bays for their goods that would be delivered to their vehicles by employees.
The development was also discussed at the Oct. 3 board meeting when Walmart representatives said that the proposed development is not the first Walmart grocery store of this type in the country, with smaller "pilot" Walmart stores existing in Utah, Louisiana and the Walmart headquarters hometown of Bentonville, Ark. However, it will be the first full-size concept Walmart grocery to warehouse all of its own merchandise, officials said.
"We’ve had pilots for a little over the past year that are similar to this but different … where customers drive up, the deliveries are loaded into their car, and they never have to leave the car," Walmart public affairs director Kevin Thompson said on Oct. 3. "The other locations are former banks where the product is driven there every day, where then the customer comes in to pick it up. This will have all the product in-house like a traditional grocery store would, that’s the key distinction."
At the Oct. 16 meeting, trustees voted 5-0 formally approving code modifications regarding signage changes, landscaping, a reduction in parking spaces and parking layout modifications allowing for canopy customer parking bays.
Trustees approved a special use extending the hours of operation from 5 a.m. to midnight for delivery and shipment needs. Delivery hours are usually restricted between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the village. The store would be open to customers from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Trustee Jesal Patel on Oct. 3 expressed concerns that early delivery trucks could bother nearby residents, and some other trustees also expressed concerns about traffic flow along Pratt Avenue.
R&R Global Partners chief executive officer Bryan Rishforth, who is the owner of the site, said that Walmart would have nearly a 60 percent reduction in traffic from Dominick’s, which had about 5,000 daily visits and a higher average customer stay time.
Also at the Oct. 16 meeting, the board approved a resolution granting economic incentives for Zeigler Auto Group to construct a new Cadillac dealership at 7373 N. Cicero Ave., estimated for completion in February of 2021.
The development was also discussed on Oct. 3, when Zeigler representatives explained that it would allow them to separate the Cadillac use from their existing GMC, Buick and Cadillac Autoplex dealership at 6900 N. McCormick Blvd., which would be renovated by August of 2020.
Zeigler acquired the former Grossinger Autoplex on McCormick Boulevard in March, and they plan to close on purchasing the vacant industrial property on Cicero after receiving the incentives.
Zeigler chief financial officer Dan Scheid said on Oct. 3 that auto manufacturers often pressure dealerships to utilize appealing, renovated storefronts to meet sales quotas.
"We own 25 dealerships, we’ve been doing this 40 years. This by far and away was the worst run dealership we’ve seen out of all the dealerships we’ve ever looked at … General Motors had a lawsuit to take them (Grossinger) out of business." Scheid said. "If we don’t reach double sales (after construction and renovation), this is a terrible, terrible investment."
Tax sharing incentives will allow Zeigler to keep 50 percent of sales tax revenue from their first $50 million of annual sales, and 65 percent of sales taxes from sales above that. Additional incentives include county property tax abatement and waiving of about $200,000 worth of village building permit fees. The village would receive a minimum $420,000 in annual sales tax revenue from the McCormick Boulevard dealership.
At the Oct. 16 Committee of the Whole meeting, trustees and staff discussed options how to fund debt for about $11.5 million worth of village storm water sewer projects, which includes the possibility of increased fees on water bills or increases in property or sales taxes.
The projects would be paid in part with a $1.4 million Municipal Water Reclamation District grant and existing village funds, but the difference would require issuing bonds paid back through annual $725,000 debt payments.
Fees may include additional user charges of $1.80 per 1,000 gallons of water used, a fixed annual $176 fee on each property’s water bill, alternative fixed fees with higher annual $318 fees for commercial properties and $159 fees for residents, or a split between user charges and fixed annual fees.
Trustees also discussed the possibility of an increased property tax levy of 2.3 percent versus the recommended 2.1 percent increase, but most trustees expressed interest in exploring alternative options to increasing sales taxes.
"We could start using increases in sales tax now so we’re on par with our neighbors," Patel said on Oct. 16, referring to higher sales taxes existing in surrounding municipalities.
Board Trustee Renan Sugarman warned about the possibility of needing to grant more code variations or economic incentives to attract future businesses, should sales taxes increase. "We might need to be more commercial-friendly now if we’re looking at more business taxes … We might need to be more accommodating than we might want to be," he said.
The sewer projects include a 60-inch outfall sewer along North Shore Avenue between the North Shore Channel and Drake Avenue that is scheduled for construction through 2019 and 2020, and storm water street storage runoff should be completed through 2022. The improvements are intended to protect parts of the village from 10-year floods. Funding will be further discussed at future meetings.