Oswego was in hunt for Sam's Club store : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Oswego was in hunt for Sam's Club store|
|Firm had option on former Lowe's, but eventually chose Montgomery |
|by John Etheredge|
The Village of Oswego was in the running for a Sam's Club store now proposed for construction in Montgomery.
Oswego Village Administrator Steve Jones said Monday that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., owners of Sam's Club, had a "six month option or contract" on the former Lowe's store located in the Prairie Market shopping center on U.S. Route 34 in Oswego.
The Lowe's store has been vacant since it closed early last year.
After the Lowe's store closed, several Oswego officials had expressed hope a Sam's Club would locate in the building.
But last Thursday Montgomery officials announced they had received plans for a Sam's Club store to be built in the village's Ogden Hill shopping center at the intersection of Route 34 and U.S. Route 30.
As proposed, the 136,085 warehouse-style store would be located next to the JC Penney store.
Included in the store's plans is a gas station that would be located on an outlot in the center along Route 34.
The Montgomery Plan Commission voted unanimously to approve an advisory recommendation in support of the plans last Thursday evening. (See related article).
Addressing members of the Oswego Chamber of Commerce during a breakfast meeting at Oswego Village Hall Monday morning, Jones said he and other Oswego officials are disappointed that Wal-Mart officials have chosen the Montgomery site for the Sam's Club.
Jones, however, said Wal-Mart officials chose the Montgomery site because traffic volume on Route 30 and Route 34 past the proposed store site is greater than on Route 34 in Oswego past the former Lowe's store.
Referring to the Montgomery site, Jones said, "They were also able to get a 'green grass' (building) site where they will be able to put up a prototype store."
Wal-Mart's choice of the Montgomery site also surprised local land brokers, according to Jones.
"The brokers here had been dealing with the folks down in Arkansas (at Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters) and they were pretty darn confident this project was going to come to Oswego and I can even attest to that," Jones said, adding, "Before I came here I had been working in Carpentersville and I had been working on a Wal-Mart project with one of the same brokers. When I told him I was leaving and would be handing the project to someone else so I could go to Oswego, he said, 'Oswego, we may be working together.'"
Jones, however, said Wal-Mart officials chose the Montgomery site.
"The bottom line here is that some of these decisions are made at the corporate level," Jones said, adding, "We're disappointed, but we still have practically every retailer known to man and hopefully we will get some more."
At stake in the quest by the two villages to secure the Sam's Club store were hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual sales tax revenue.
Jeff Zoephel, the Village of Montgomery's acting village administrator, estimated last week the Sam's Club could generate as much as $500,000 in an annual sales tax revenues for the village.
Village President Brian LeClercq said he was also disappointed the Sam's Club will not locate in the village. However, he noted the store will still be a source of significant property tax revenues for other local taxing districts, including the Oswego school, park, library and fire districts.
Pier 1 Imports
to open local store
Also during Monday's chamber breakfast meeting, LeClercq announced that Pier 1 Imports will open a store in the village.
LeClercq said the new store will be located in the Prairie Market shopping center near the existing Best Buy store.
Headquartered in Forth Worth, Texas, Pier 1 Imports offers imported home furnishings and décor.
LeClercq also introduced Vijay Gadde to chamber members. The village board voted to hire Gadde as the village's full-time economic development director last month. He started work with the village Feb. 8.
Gadde worked the past 13 years as planning manager for the Village of Lake Zurich in Lake County.
Gadde is the second person to serve as the village's economic development director since the board voted to sever its ties with the Oswego Economic Development Corporation and create a village-run economic development department in 2011.
LeClercq told chamber members the village "has been doing a lot more listening" to the business community.
He noted that Jones regularly attends the meetings of the chamber's legislative committee.
Also, LeClercq said Steve Hatcher, the chamber's retiring executive director, participated in the interviews for applicants for the formerly vacant position of village economic development director.
Referring to Gadde, LeClercq said, "His success will be our success."