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Sam's Club planning Montgomery store : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Sam's Club planning Montgomery store
Warehouse retailer eyes site in Ogden Hill shopping center

by John Etheredge


Sam's Club may open a store in Montgomery.

The village's plan commission is scheduled to review plans for a Sam's Club store when they gather this evening, Thursday, at 7 p.m. at village hall.

The commission will render an advisory recommendation on the plans, which will then be forwarded to the village board for further review and a final vote of approval.

As proposed, the 136,085 warehouse-style store would be located next to the JC Penney store in the Ogden Hill shopping center at U.S. Route 34 and U.S. Route 30.

Included in the plans is a gas station that would be located on an outlot in the center along Route 34.

"We are very excited about it," said Jeff Zoephel, the village's acting administrator.

Zoephel said he expects the plan commission will endorse the plans this evening.

"I believe the village staff, the plan commission and the village board all feel this is a great project for the village and will be a benefit to our residents," Zoephel said.

He added that village officials are hopeful the opening of the Sam's Club store will help boost the village's continuing efforts to attract still more retailers and restaurants to the Ogden Hill shopping center.

"We are hoping some sit-down restaurants will follow (the Sam's Club)," Zoephel noted.

The store will also provide a significant new source of tax revenues for the village and other local taxing districts, Zoephel confirmed.

He said the store will be a source of property tax revenues for the village and several other local taxing districts, including the Oswego School District, Oswegoland Park District, Oswego Township, Oswego Public Library District and Oswego Fire Protection District.

In addition, Zoephel said the store could generate as much as $500,000 annually in sales tax revenues for the village. Sales tax revenues are a key source of income for the village.

Zoephel confirmed that village officials have discussed a possible incentive agreement with Sam's Club for the store. Over the past several years the village and other area municipalities have approved incentive agreements to encourage large retail stores to locate in their respective communities. Often, the incentive agreements have called for the municipalities to rebate a portion of the sales tax revenues to the retail store owners for a set period of time to cover the cost of public infrastructure improvements required for a store's construction.

Asked if he expects an incentive agreement will be negotiated between the village and Sam's Club, Zoephel said, "As I've said, there have been discussions. I do believe at some point the board will be asked to agree to an incentive agreement."

Asked if he believes the village is in a competitive situation with neighboring Aurora and Oswego to secure the Sam's Club store, Zoephel said, "I would assume the other communities would try to attract Sam's Club. This is the kind of business any community would want to have."

Zoephel confirmed that he and other village officials had heard speculation that Sam's Club might be interested in the former Lowe's store in the Prairie Market shopping center on Route 34 in Oswego.

Referring to Sam's Club officials, he said, "I think at this point Montgomery is their preferred site. That is why you are seeing a plan come to the plan commission for review. But, I think also they want to keep all their avenues open until they know they can get what meets their needs here (in Montgomery)."

If the plan commission-as expected-approves the project plans tonight, Zoephel said the plans will be placed on the agenda for the next village board meeting set for Monday, Feb. 25.

If the board approves project plans, Zoephel said he would expect construction on the store would start by late summer and it would open sometime next year.

The store would be the first large 'big box' retail outlet to open in the Montgomery-Oswego area since before the 2008 recession. Prior to that time, numerous national and regional retailers opened stores along Route 34 and Orchard road in the two villages.

Sam's Club is owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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