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Downers Grove

Art Van Furniture store could fill long-vacant Home Depot building on Butterfield Road

DOWNERS GROVE – The long-vacant Home Depot building on Butterfield Road could become a new Art Van Furniture store.

The Downers Grove Village Council heard the first reading of a proposed deal with Art Van at Tuesday's meeting that would rebate 50 percent of future local sales taxes from the store.

The Michigan-based furniture retailer would fund the up-front cost of $3.2 million to buy the building and convert it into an Art Van store.

If approved, the sales tax rebate would last 15 years, or until it totals $3.2 million, whichever comes first. If the store closes before 20 years, the village would have the ability to recoup some of the rebate.

Art Van expects the store to generate about $150,000 in net sales tax revenue for the village.

"This project will serve as a catalyst not only for other development opportunities on Butterfield, but for the attraction of other quality retailers and restaurants," Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation Director Michael Cassa said.

Mayor Martin Tully and Commissioner David Olsen both touted the incentive deal as a way for the village to generate sales tax dollars without risking any investment on the front-end.

"If we didn't do this, then it's likely the site would remain vacant, and the village would receive no sales tax dollars, versus the sales tax dollars we are going to receive if this deal is approved," Olsen said.

Cassa said the 100,000-square-foot building at 1021 Butterfield Road has been especially hard to fill because much of the retail sales area is on its second floor. It's sat vacant since 2009.

"Without an incentive agreement, Art Van is not able to absorb the extraordinary costs of the renovation," Cassa said. "Costs which would not be required at other sites that are available to them."

Art Van currently has 36 stores. Its expansion into Downers Grove is part of a larger move in the Chicago area, where it plans to open 18 new stores.

Commissioners voiced support for the project Tuesday and will vote at a future meeting whether to approve the deal.

"To see that building be redeveloped and remodeled, it's a huge victory," Commissioner Geoff Neustadt said. "It's been identified in every plan that I can remember as a horrible site, really. But we have the right tenant now that's going to make it a wonderful site. This deal is going to reinvigorate Downers Grove, especially in that corridor."

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