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Batavia planners approve design for new Walgreens store

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 6:34 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Batavia Enterprises on Wednesday took another step forward in its plans to bring a new Walgreens store to downtown Batavia.

Plan commissioners recommended approval of the project’s design. 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.

The plans still have to receive city approval.

The plans for the store have elicited debate in part because the store would be set back about 70 feet from Wilson Street. The city’s zoning code requires a front building setback to be 10 feet or less.

Plan commissioners recommended approval of the project’s design with several conditions, including that stamped asphalt be used for all the parking lot pedestrian crossings. Commissioners debated whether to require stamped asphalt or brick pavers, but staff said that stamped asphalt would require less maintenance than brick pavers.

“I think stamped asphalt is an acceptable alternative,” Batavia Community Development Director Scott Buening said.

The proposal also features two pocket parks with seating areas.

“When this is all done, I think that it will be something that Batavia will be proud of,” Batavia Enterprises Vice President Austin Dempsey said.

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. The project has been in the planning stages since 2010.

The project is in a tax increment financing district. Once a municipality creates a TIF, its property assessment is frozen and new or increased taxes generated by improvements are used to pay for improvements or other development incentives.

TIF financing for the project is expected to be discussed later this month at a city Joint Committee of the Whole meeting.

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