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Palatine Approves Zoning, Plans for Mariano's

Despite a sometimes heated debate, the village council approved plans for a Mariano's Fresh Market at 537 N. Hicks Road.

The Palatine Village Council approved plans for a Mariano's Fresh Market, but not before District 1 Council member Aaron Del Mar voiced strong opposition.

The 70,000 square foot grocery store is part of the village's redevelopment of 537 N. Hicks Rd. Palatine's new police station already is under construction in the area. At one time the village owned about 14 acres in the location. Palatine agreed Sept. 20 to sell about 7 acres to Bradford Real Real Estate for about $3.050 million.

Bradford is trying to develop the 7 acres commercially, with Mariano's anchoring the redevelopment.

Del Mar previously had opposed the village's sale to Bradford, arguing that the $3.050 million price for the land was too low. Monday, Del Mar once again voiced his opposition.

"At the end of the day I am not against Mariano's or any other business that comes into Palatine I just think that we need to take a hard look at what the real cost associated with it is going to be," Del Mar said.

Del Mar said that when all of the cost of the property is taken into account, Palatine is losing about $1.6 million on the deal.

Palatine paid about $6.150 million in acquiring the 14 acres. Bradford is paying $3.050 million for about half the property. But Del Mar said Palatine is losing money because of additional costs the village incurred in acquiring the land.

Palatine filed for condemnation and went to court to obtain the property. Ultimately the village spent about $3.25 million on litigation and buying out Sears' lease. Del Mar believes the village should have been able to recoup that additional cost in the sale of the property.

"Palatine will have a $1.6 million loss on this deal," Del Mar said.

District 3 council member Jim Clegg said Schaumburg was listing commercial property close to the price that Palatine had received in the sale. Also, Clegg said he was supportive of bringing new businesses to Palatine.

The village previously had agreed on the sale price with Bradford. Monday's meeting was to approve zoning and development plans. District 5 Council Member Jack Wagner, who was acting mayor in Jim Schwantz's absence, had several heated exchanges with Del Mar.

Wagner said legally the zoning hearing had to focus on specific land use and development issues and that the price of the property was a settled matter.

"I think its a travesty you want to use process to hide it," Del Mar said.

"Sir, you're out of order, a bit," Wagner retorted.

Ultimately Wagner and the council relented and allowed Del Mar to read a prepared statement. Del Mar also was critical of the use of the land saying Palatine had many grocery stores and Mariano's would simply redistribute sales tax dollars the village already was receiving from existing stores.

"So I'm supposed to tell European Fresh Market that they have to close their doors because Jewel and Dominick's are already here?" Wagner asked.

Village Manager Reid Ottesen said Palatine is saving about $3 million to $4 million by constructing the police station now. The economy, which has depressed real estate values, also has lowered the cost of construction materials. Also, the village was able to use low interest federal bonds.

Ottesen said construction on Mariano's likely would begin in April with the store openning in early 2012.

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