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Batavia Enterprises says new Walgreens store will ‘pay for itself’

The proposed new Walgreens store in downtown Batavia is seen in an illustration.
The proposed new Walgreens store in downtown Batavia is seen in an illustration.

BATAVIA – Batavia Enterprises officials say they qualify for up to $1.5 million in tax increment financing funds that are needed to bring a new Walgreens to downtown Batavia.

Batavia Enterprises Vice President Austin Dempsey presented aldermen Tuesday with an update on the
project, which has been in the planning stages since 2010.

Batavia Enterprises wants to move Walgreens from its current location at 138 W. Wilson St. in the Batavia Plaza into a 14,500-square-foot building with a drive-thru just east of East China Inn in the same shopping center. Batavia Enterprises owns Batavia Plaza.

Dempsey said the TIF funding is needed because of problems with the site, including a large storm drain line that runs through the city-owned portion of the property.

The line acts as an overflow route from the southern tip of Depot Pond to a point in the Fox River just north of the city of Batavia’s Emergency Services and Disaster Agency garage.

Dempsey said if the line has to be moved, it would cost about $250,000.

In addition, because the property has poor soil, the new building would have to be built on concrete caissons or piers, which could cost $275,000, Dempsey said.

He estimated the overall project cost at between $5.5 million and $6 million, including $3 million to build the store.

Dempsey said the city’s investment “would pay for itself” in increased property value.

City officials said they plan to examine the proposal.

“We don’t want to put taxpayers in a lurch,” Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said Wednesday. “We can’t turn it into a big tax burden.”

Schielke said the city’s TIF consultant will be examining the proposal.

“We want to make sure the payback is there,” he said. “I would welcome the idea of having a new
Walgreens store in downtown Batavia. It sends a positive message to the retail world.”

Dempsey said time is of the essence to get the project underway.

He said construction of the new store must begin by March to deliver the building to Walgreens corporate leaders by the end of September 2014.

“This will be a rock and anchor for the downtown for a long time,” Dempsey said.

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