Public Watchdog.org

Whole Foods Development A Lesson In Zoning And Principle

05.11.12

About five years ago the owner/developer of what was then known as “Executive Office Plaza” (“EOP”) sought a map amendment to the City’s Zoning Code to change that property’s classification from B-1 to R-5, in order to construct 168 residential condominium units there.

The neighbors mobilized to oppose that effort, objecting to the height and density of those structures.  We here at PublicWatchdog joined in those objections.  But the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission recommended that change, and then-mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark and his City Council alderpuppet majority approved that recommendation for reasons that remain suspect to this day.

The recession, however, turned the condo market sour; and the developer – Park Ridge 2004, LLC – abandoned its EOP condo plan.

Now that same developer is back, this time with a plan for a Whole Foods grocery instead of 168 condos.  For this project, however, it needs to reverse the zoning back from R-5 to B-1.

And guess what?  Many of those very same folks who beefed about the residential development five years ago are beefing about this retail development.  This time, however, their main complaints are increased vehicle traffic and “grave concerns” about safety – primarily for the children who walk to St. Paul of the Cross school.

We’re grateful for these complaints.  You should be, too: that’s how this re-zoning process is supposed to work, protecting the community as a whole from willy-nilly land development deals intended primarily to put money in the pockets of profiteers with little concern for the long-term health of the community. 

But after listening to all the arguments raised against this zoning change, we think the objectors need to regain their credibility in opposing a project that we get a sense the vast majority of Park Ridge residents want.  To that end, we offer the following suggestions: 

1.  If you’re going to beef about the Traffic Impact Study done by the developer’s consultants, (KLOA, Inc.), you had better have a competing study of your own.  Because just scoffing at KLOA’s findings and conclusions isn’t going to get you very far.

2.  In that same vein, where is your data proving that the traffic-light regulated intersections of Washington & Touhy and Washington & NW Hwy already are unreasonably hazardous?  The IDOT records cited in the KLOA report identify a cumulative total of 19 accidents at those two intersections in the past 5 years, only 1 involving a pedestrian – and none of which produced a fatality or incapacitating injury.  It seems like you’ve got a better chance of being hit in the Jewel or Dominick’s parking lot than at those intersections, so how “scary” and “deadly” – two terms we’ve heard used to describe those intersections – can they really be?

3.  Don’t try to tell Whole Foods or the developer that the former Napleton car dealership site at Greenwood and Busse (across from the Jewel), or any other site in town, would be a “better” location.  If either of them actually believed it, and if those alternate properties actually were available at a comparable price, you can be certain that’s where they’d already be looking.

4.  Don’t argue for new office buildings at Touhy and Washington.  Seven years of vacant office buildings on that site is Exhibit A for the folly of believing a high demand for office space on that site currently exists. 

5.  Don’t buy into the argument that Whole Foods will either fail or cause one of our other existing grocery stores to fail.  That very well may be true, but City government has no business substituting its bureaucratic judgment for that of the marketplace when it comes to things like retail competition.  And a self-proclaimed Libertarian like Ald. Jim Smith (3rd) should know better than to suggest otherwise.

So if you NIMBYs want to make this process as good as it can be, you’ve got to raise your game a couple of notches as this issue enters its stretch drive.

And talking about raising one’s game, the City Council and Staff had better raise their own games several notches when it comes to the rumored request/demand by the developer and/or Whole Foods for tax breaks as a condition of the development moving forward. 

Let’s start by calling those kinds of requests/demands what they are: legalized extortion.

Before the City Council even begins to considers bribing this particular developer and this particular retailer with already-scarce tax dollars, it had better also figure out how it’s going to do the same for all the other developers and retailers already here, or who may come here in the future.  Because one thing this City owes everybody – businesses and residents alike – is a fair shake and a level playing field.

Neither the developer nor the retailer need or deserve corporate welfare from the City’s taxpayers when their City government, despite wisely cutting expenses and non-essential services to an unprecedented degree, still faces million dollar deficits in the coming years because of its latest corporate welfare boondoggle: the Uptown TIF.  That lesson should already have been learned, in spades.

And we don’t need to do business with bait-and-switch artists.  If Park Ridge 2004 LLC really wants to develop that property, and if Whole Foods really wants to be in Park Ridge, then the economics of the deal are what they are – take ‘em or leave ‘em.  And if they are going to leave ‘em, then they should do so now, before the City squanders any more time, money, effort and resident good-will walking down a dead-end street.

As a community, we definitely have our challenges – which makes it all that much more important that we also have our principles.

To read or post comments, click on title.

30 comments so far

You did a nice job summarizing what I’ve thought all along…the NIMBYs arguments are weak. And my guess is that even though they oppose the location, they would still enjoy the occasional organic lemonade there from time to time given their very proximity to the site.

Anyway, this rumored “request” has me nervous, as the deal was looking like a no-strings-attached, no-brainer to me. But at the same time, isn’t this somewhat standard procedure in business today? I’m not a businessperson but aren’t these tax breaks the kinds of things that brought Boeing to Chicago, Sears to Hoffman Estates, to name a couple high-profile examples. Are those examples of bribery or extortion?

I understand that it will take a while, maybe a long while, to recover from the Uptown TIF boondoggle, but does that mean we have to walk away from any businesses that request tax breaks? How will we get out from under this mess if we aren’t friendly to businesses who might ultimately help us in the long run?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you saying these kinds of deals – which most definitely ARE “examples of bribery or extortion” because of their gossamer-veiled implication that the businesses will go elsewhere without such emoluments – are what it takes for Park Ridge to be “friendly to businesses…”? If so, do you also favor giving the same kind of special deal for this developer and Whole Foods to all those businesses already here and who will be coming here?

The way to “get out from under this mess” is, first and foremost, to not make it any worse by more bad ideas, policies and practices; and more dumb deals. We also need to bite the bullet and continue to do what the City has been doing for the past couple-three years: getting the City back to its competitive “fighting-weight” by cutting all non-essential services and making sure we get at least a dollar’s value for every dollar spent. A well-run, reasonably-taxed municipality is the best invitation to businesses.

Because of the black-hole Uptown TIF, however, the City may need to consider some reasonable short-term tax and/or fee increase(s) narrowly-targeted to addressing particular problems and strictly limited for those purposes. Which means that the City is going to need to elect and/or retain officials who subscribe to this philosophy and are willing to stay the course in the face of the whines, lies and hysterics of the tax-borrow-and-spenders who got us into this mess and then made it even worse.

How long will it take the City of Park Ridge to make a decision on this issue, do you estimate?

EDITOR’S NOTE: It could occur as soon as the next regular Council meeting on May 21, which is scheduled to be the “second reading” of the required two-reading approval process. Or if enough meritorious questions or objections are raised, it may be deferred.

“If so, do you also favor giving the same kind of special deal for this developer and Whole Foods to all those businesses already here and who will be coming here?”

I don’t know. Every situation, every time is different. Maybe a break makes sense for WF at this particular time. Maybe not. But whatever happens with this deal does not necessarily have to apply to existing and future business deals, does it? Or is consistency imperative for fair and good government? I’m asking because I honestly don’t know what to believe these days.

In the private sector, a company may offer a prospective employee a signing bonus because he or she is particularly suited to a job they want to fill. That doesn’t mean all current and future employees should also get bonuses, does it?

On another note, I was thinking about your comment about this being a possible bait and switch. If that was truly the case wouldn’t they developer or WF wait to submit their request, whatever it may be, until after the zoning change is final?

EDITOR’S NOTE: “[I]s consistency imperative for fair and good government?” Absolutely, because our system of government is essentially a bottom-up structure where the consent of the governed controls. So consistency and predictability – along with honesty and fairness – are essential to government (and, not coincidentally, to our justice system) in ways that are not typical of or essential to the more top-down structure of private business.

The developer has already “baited” the deal by getting the P&Z B-1 recommendation while giving the impression that it didn’t need/want any concessions. THAT was where the critical fact-finding was done, and where things could have gone off the tracks for the developer. Now, at least technically-speaking, financial concessions aren’t even part of the Council’s decision on adopting the P&Z recommendation – so the “switch” is not untimely.

I’ve done site selection work for a new manufacturing facility including negotiating with local, state, and foreign governments for tax credits and other subsidies. A new factory in a particular location will bring significant financial benefit to the local area, particularly if it employs hundreds or thousands of workers who will proceed to spend their paychecks in the local economy and the government will recoup the money through increased tax revenue (income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc.) I haven’t done any site selection work for office buildings, but I assume that the economics are the same; that local governments will court Sears on Boeing in order to increase employment and thus help the local economy. The net result is that money earned elsewhere is brought into the community (e.g. Sears earns money all over the country and spends it on employees in Hoffman Estates.)

Tax breaks for a retailer appear to be another issue. I’m certainly not an expert in this area, but fail to see how tax breaks can help Park Ridge. Unlike a factory, which can be located anywhere, retailers need to be in a relatively small geographical area where their customers shop. If the project is financially viable because PR has enough shoppers who will patronize the store, Whole Foods will locate in PR without financial assistance from the city. If the project is not financially viable, Whole Foods will not locate in PR even if they are given a reasonable subsidy. Whole Foods will be taking money out of our community and spending it in places like Austin, TX where their headquarters is located. This is the opposite of the manufacturing or office scenario.

I don’t believe that Park Ridge taxes food (someone please correct me if this is wrong); the 2.25% that we pay on food is 1% to IL and 1.25% to the RTA. Additional local property taxes on the site may be the only increased revenue that Park Ridge will get from this deal. There may be a minimal amount of increased spending in PR due to Whole Foods attracting people from other communities who will then spend money at another retailer, so theoretically, tax revenue may increase, but I wouldn’t count on it.

So the question for the City Council and city staff is fairly simple: “What will Park Ridge gain by giving tax incentives to the developers or to Whole Foods?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: We tend to agree with your analysis, which would then present the logical question: if most of the sales at Whole Foods won’t be taxed, why do the developer and/or Whole Foods want sales tax revenue sharing?

“There may be a minimal amount of increased spending in PR due to Whole Foods attracting people from other communities who will then spend money at another retailer, so theoretically, tax revenue may increase, but I wouldn’t count on it.”

I actually would count on it. I know numerous people who make a day out of going to Glenview or Schaumburg to shop at Whole Foods and patronize other shops and restaurants while they’re at it.

I’ve been excited about the project not so much because I want my access to organic lemonade close at hand but because I think it has the potential to revitalize Uptown even further. I think the addition of the store would be extremely attractive to other retailers who might not otherwise consider locating in Park Ridge. It would nice to see some of those vacant storefronts uptown come to life again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Uptown TIF was supposed to “revitalize Uptown” and make it more…wait for it…”VIBRANT”! How’s that working for you, now that the TIF is into the General Fund for around $6 million and climbing?

If there is any credible evidence – not mere speculation, but evidence – that Whole Foods will create significant alternative business and revenue generation for the City, you can be darn sure the City will hear about it from the developer and/or Whole Foods when the tax credit topic comes up. Until then, we’ll stick to our healthy skepticism, thank you very little – along with our healthy skepticism about all the additional traffic it might bring and how that traffic will cause carnage and devastation.

“How’s that working for you, now that the TIF is into the General Fund for around $6 million and climbing?”

I think it’s worked to a degree but of course there’s room for improvement. Lots of it. But I haven’t heard of any other major retailers wanting to locate here…this is our (adminstration’s) chance to do something to improve upon what someone else started.

I’m sure a variety of factors have gone into the degree of success the Uptown plan has achieved. But if we want to see continued improvement will maintaining status quo be helpful? I think not. Hence my support for the WF project.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The City was so desperate to make something happen that it foolishly gave away the store to PRC and put itself behind the long-term 8-ball while PRC walked away after a few years with its profits. But what more should we have expected from the crew that was running City Hall during the Uptown TIF’s 8-year gestation?

Frankly, we’re for the Whole Foods project, but not without some reservations – including the fear that the City might foolishly give away the store yet again. But we’ll take Schmidt over Wietecha/Marous in the big chair any day; we’ll take Knight over any of his predecessors in the finance & budget chair; we’ll take Allison Stutts over Diane Lembesis in the finance department; and we’ll take an empty City Mgr. chair over either Tim Schuenke or Jim Hock. So, all things considered, we’re guardedly optimistic

Of course you would take Knight and Schmidt over anyone else, you are so far up both of there asses. Rumor has it you will be climbing into the vacant chair next to your buddies. Now we can really enjoy the puppet show that will be going on at the council meetings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This editor is far too big to fit in either of the places you have identified. But if your idiom is in reference to sharing a common philosophy of honest, transparent, accountable and frugal municipal government, that would be accurate – which is why we prefer Schmidt and Knight to their predecessors whose dissembling, opaque, un-accountable and profligate philosophy of City government made a shambles of City finances that the current administration has been busting its butt to repair.

Not surprisingly, your rumor is unequivocally wrong – presumably because its source is Howard Frimark and/or Gene “The Marine” Spanos, neither of whom has a reputation for being on a first-name basis with fact or credibility.

Wow!!!! Based on this thread, if I am a NIMBY I am feeling awfully good!!! Has anyone here done any research on WF?? Has the Mayor or council?? They just released earnings and have published their growth strategy. Do you think they are banking on Park Ridge???

PD….you seem to think theat WF is draging their feet….”And if they are going to leave ‘em, then they should do so now, before the City squanders any more time, money, effort and resident good-will walking down a dead-end street”……..as far as I know the city has not clearly stated the positions you seem to want them to. Why don’t you have the Mayor and or Knight call them and tell them NO…Period…No discussion. That will end this thing real fast!!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: WOW!!!! Based on your comments, you’ve been reading another blog.

You say don’t argue for new office buildings. But then How do you explain those 2 on S. Prospect which have been there for years and are still occupied?

EDITOR’S NOTE: You answered your own question, Mike: They’ve “been there for years” so they’ve probably been paid for awhile now. Having to buy land and finance new buildings is a whole different ballgame.

What is your opinion of this Sales tax sharing agreement?

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we said in the post:

“Let’s start by calling those kinds of requests/demands what they are: legalized extortion.

Before the City Council even begins to considers bribing this particular developer and this particular retailer with already-scarce tax dollars, it had better also figure out how it’s going to do the same for all the other developers and retailers already here, or who may come here in the future. Because one thing this City owes everybody – businesses and residents alike – is a fair shake and a level playing field.

Neither the developer nor the retailer need or deserve corporate welfare from the City’s taxpayers when their City government, despite wisely cutting expenses and non-essential services to an unprecedented degree, still faces million dollar deficits in the coming years because of its latest corporate welfare boondoggle: the Uptown TIF. That lesson should already have been learned, in spades.”

Need we say more?

You’ve raised some interesting questions about how important “principle” should be when there’s a lot of money on the line. It will be interesting to see whjat the coucnil does with this.

Could the tax breaks be related to property taxes? I know the property taxes are based on the Cook County Assessor; perhaps, Whole Foods is requesting to get breaks related to City, school districts, Park District, etc. that are on the real estate bill?!?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Would it make you feel better to know that the money Whole Foods will be getting is a real estate tax reduction instead of a sales tax reduction? Would you feel better about your own, your neighbors’ and currently-established businesses’ tax burdens increasing, or City services decreasing, so that Whole Foods doesn’t have to pay as much?

It would be better for Whole Foods to be getting a real estate tax reduction instead of a sales tax reduction. Nobody is paying either tax on the vacant property as it stands right now. A real estate tax reduction would not be as valuable to Whole Foods as a sales tax reduction. Real estate would be a set rate; sales tax would vary on volume.

The amount of property taxes that are currently applied to Park Ridge commercial and residential properties are so unfairly distributed and determined, that is an issue for another time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t particularly care about figuring out what is best for Whole Foods, because we’re sure they’ve already figured that out for themselves.

“We don’t particularly care about figuring out what is best for Whole Foods, because we’re sure they’ve already figured that out for themselves.”

Indeed. The city needs to decide quickly what’s best for Park Ridge and soon. I’m guessing whatever demand or request that WF or the developer is making now is just the first move in what might be an intricate game of chess. I’m sure they do it all the time, the question is will the city be able to hold what seems to be the advantage including a prime location and a population of shoppers willing to form over their cash.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If this becomes “an intricate game of chess” the City will lose, because business people always seem to out-think and outlast the bureaucrats and politicians.

The tax sharing deal is on the City COuncil agenda for tonight. Any sense of how its going to go?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Not a clue.

I looked at the document and while I’m not a lawyer it doesn’t seem to be an egregious example of bribery or extortion…just good business. And it is just the starting point of a negotiation process, brought to the City after the City attorney apparently encouraged them to “bring their best offer.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Just good business” for the developer and/or Whole Foods, not necessarily for the City – especially since it appears to be looking for a one-off sweetheart deal because the City doesn’t have any policy in place for dealing with requests for tax breaks.

So have you heard how last night’s agenda item went?

EDITOR’S NOTE: 6-0 against accepting the proposed revenue-sharing agreement.

From the aldermen’s comments it sounds like none of them were of the opinion that this revenue-sharing is a good deal for the City, just the developer and/or Whole Foods trying to cut the best possible deal for themselves at the taxpayers’ expense. And they actually talked about coming up with a major revision to the Council’s Policy No. 31, which provides positively no guidance, uniformity or predictability on the issue of economic incentives to businesses.

For that brief moment in time, they actually sounded like statesmen.

Thanks for the update. Nice to hear the council’s not willing to simply give away the store, as you’ve said was what happened with the Uptown TIF.

Do you know what this means for the proposed development?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We concur.

Lance Chody, one of the principals of the developer, indicated that they have to be “in the ground” in October or else it won’t happen. Meanwhile, the Council indicated that it wants to hear from the developer/WF if they intend to go ahead before the Council votes on the map amendment. Another brief but shining moment by the Council last evening.

Interesting. At the P&Z Commission meeting when they voted in favor of the map amendment, one of their reps said Whole Foods management has been more excited about PR than any other site in a long time. I guess we’ll soon find out if that’s really true.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Exactly.

Whole Foods has a funny way of showing how excited they are about Park Ridge. So far we’ve only seen a produce manager from, I think, the Northbrook store and the developer’s lawyer who also claims to represent Whole Foods.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If Whole Foods wasn’t this excited, they wouldn’t have sent the produce manager.

We’d welcome a Whole Foods in Park Ridge. Let’s get this done. We currently shop in Glenview and Sauganash for groceries…let us spend those taxes in our community which we want to see flourish.

Too many offices sit vacant, too many condos sit on the market…storefronts have improved to some degree …

Let’s develop what will bring more people to town…and then let the smaller shops in town see growth and real estate improve as well. Trader Joe’s was an improvement to grocery shopping … Whole Foods in town will create a reason for people to move here and come here to shop.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A superficial, simplistic and just plain silly analysis. But if your theory is correct that Whole Foods in Park Ridge “will create a reason for people to mover here,” why haven’t you moved to Glenview or Sauganash?

Here’s a question for you. If this ends up being a deal-breaker, won’t the city be the ultimate loser? They basically said no to giving the developer a cut of around $150,000 in sales tax revenue.

That doesn’t seem like all that much money considering the city would receive a much larger share of that revenue. I guess to me it seems like a small price to pay when you consider the alternative…vacant office buildings, which aren’t doing anything to spark any economic engines in the way this development might.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s an answer for you: What are your public policy considerations of giving WF a clear financial competitive advantage over Jewel, Dominick’s and TJs? What kind of soft touches will this one-off special deal make us look like to every new business considering Park Ridge (e.g., Mariano’s)? Where’s the benchmark or guideline for objectively determining what kind and how much of a concession is enough and how much is too much? And unless a retailer is really committed to Park Ridge, how are we going to be able to offer it more “bribe” money than Rosemont, Des Plaines, Niles, Glenview, Chicago and all the other communities who have a much bigger commercial tax base than we do?

And that’s just for starters, Bunky.

“Where’s the benchmark or guideline for objectively determining what kind and how much of a concession is enough and how much is too much?”

I don’t know, sounds like the council is going to try to figure that out. In the meantime, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to take each situation on a case by case basis. Agreeing to this still would seem far more prudent than the Uptown TIF deal.

I don’t get the concern about the other grocery stores in town. They have done just fine and will continue to do fine. Case in point: Evanston has two Whole Foods within a mile or two of each other, I think on the same street. One of them has a Jewel right across the street from it. And Trader Joes is moving in there soon. Whole Foods is the type of place that complements those stores, not replaces it.

You mention all the neighboring towns with larger tax bases. This is one chance we have to bring in a business other than the nail salons, dry cleaners and banks that seem to pop up like fungi around here, one that actually could make a difference in the way people spend money here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Uptown TIF deal WAS a “case by case basis” deal: no policy, no guidelines, no benchmarks, no foresight, just pushing through something that some people – like you Whole Foods junkies – wanted because it sounded better than what we had/have.

Our concern about the other grocery stores in town, and the other businesses in town, begins with fundamental fairness and providing a level playing field for everybody. But feel free to explain Why Whole Foods DESERVES a taxpayer subsidy?

We get “fungi” because apparently that’s all that’s willing to come here. And offering bribe money to Whole Foods would simply confirm that fact.

We get “fungi” because apparently that’s all that’s willing to come here.

You are OK with that? Shoudn’t we want to be better than that? I’m not saying that “bribing” Whole Foods is the answer. I’m just honestly wondering what it’s going to take to elevate us beyond settling for the fungi. This deal seems like a step in the right direction. Maybe it will still happen but if it doesn’t I will survive. But I will feel somewhat regretful that we let a good one get away.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cut the crap: If you’re “not saying that ‘bribing’ Whole Foods is the answer,’ then why are you arguing for it?

Forget about “pride” and start thinking about just retaining a modicum of self-respect that comes from realizing who and what our community is, what it’s not, what it reasonably can become, what it can’t, and what we’re willing to pay – in money, principle, character and this community’s future – to become whatever it is we want to become.

I hear you. I’m just trying to understand what the vision is for this city and the Whole Foods deal was an interesting gauge of where people’s heads seem to be, both the residents’ and the council’s. To me it seemed like a no-brainer to encourage the development.

To be honest we moved here because it is not a pretentious place compared to some of the suburbs we considered. Schools are good but not the best. Taxes are high but not the highest. I guess I need to go back to thinking PR is good enough the way it is and not wish it could be better or different. Foolishly, perhaps, I thought some new, high-caliber retail would be beneficial because I didn’t think empty storefronts and vacant office buildings were.

EDITOR’S NOTE: C’mon, this isn’t that tough. Just resist the easy quick-fix and focus on public policy and long-term consequences.

Of course Park Ridge can be better, but don’t think something as superficial as a Whole Foods (or a Mariano’s) is going to be a game-changer. That’s what the con artists and simpletons said about the Uptown TIF and guess what – every mayor and alderman responsible for it, except Rich DiPietro, is no longer in office; the developer has sold out its interest and pocketed its profit; and the City is left holding the bag. Naturally.

It sounds like you preferred the pre-Uptown development Park Ridge to the one we have now. Is that true? I can tell you don’t buy into the warm and fuzzy “soft” benefits of development, but when I’m at Hinkley Park and see the buildings and the stores and the people, I think it’s all working pretty well. What was there before then? A municipal building and a car dealer and I’m not sure what else. Was it contributing more to the city coffers than what is there now? Was it more in line with what you think our city’s true identity is? I’m not trying to badger you, I am honestly curious.

Earlier in this thread you said you were tentatively supportive of the project, but now it seems you are suggesting that welcoming Whole Foods would somehow be compromising our identity. I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think many residents believe that but maybe we all have the wrong idea about what Park Ridge is and should be about.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We prefer honest, well-conceived and transparent projects over what we got with the Uptown TIF, et al. And when those “fuzzy ‘soft’ benefits of development” come at the expense of saddling the City and its taxpayers with years and multi-millions of dollars of deficits that cause major harm to the City, thinking that “it’s all working pretty well” is, frankly, self-delusional.

We favor the Whole Foods project, but not at any expense. Unfortunately, folks like yourself want to have their cake and eat it to – by advocating for cutting some sort of deal but without commmitting themselves to the kind of deal they want.

I think maybe we should be looking to more people like re:

BY ANONYMOUS ON 05.11.12 1:59 PM
BY ANOMYMOUS ON 05.15.12 8:26 PM

These are the people who are thinking about the community… Park Ridge will win out in the long run tax benefit or not… a Whole Foods is exactly what this community needs to attract people who want to remain close to the city but are looking for “better” public schools for their children. I agree with those who said good not great (we can work on that too). A Whole Foods will bring other shops and residents in guaranteed. Too many storefronts and offices sit vacant…I haven’t heard of any Whole Foods “going out of business.” Also, many people think of Whole Foods as pricey or flashy…actually it’s quite the opposite. Have you compared prices at Jewel lately? Have you ever walked into a Whole Foods?

There is still a lot of development to be had in PR. How many square feet of offices and storefronts sit vacant? A WF will help with that…don’t ignore the simple minds.

Park Ridge offers things that other towns with Whole Foods do not have… a quint, charming town …with a good amount of development but not too much. A strong balance of family-owned businesses with a few new “chains” as well…

As for the residents along Touhy Ave… you can’t whine about everything that tries to go in there. The reality is you brought property along Touhy. Did you expect it to remain forever that way? Stop complaining and work with what most of the community wants…to create a plan to your liking for WF. When you go to sell, it will help without a doubt in my mind.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And there is no doubt in our minds that Chody and Whole Foods could muster even a shred of credible evidence to support any of the grand assertions you are making, they would already have produced it in several different formats to support the corporate welfare they’re looking for. But they haven’t, so it’s nothing but hooey.

“Of course Park Ridge can be better, but don’t think something as superficial as a Whole Foods (or a Mariano’s) is going to be a game-changer.”

I have to respectfully disagree with you there on Whole Foods. It is potentially a game changer, imo. Mariano’s, which is really nothing but a glorified Dominick’s, not so much.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Disagree away.

“But feel free to explain Why Whole Foods DESERVES a taxpayer subsidy?”

I think it’s a stretch to say sharing sales tax revenue is a taxpayer subsidy. It’s money that wouldn’t even exist without the development. t’s not like they are asking for a cut of our tax bill like the schools or the Center of Concern.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Using that “reasoning,” the City should give 99% of any sales tax revenue to Whole Foods because it wouldn’t even be getting that remaining 1% without Whole Foods at that site. Brilliant!

Cheers to you both! Exactly!
I bet WF and Chody can look out there at similar developments to that in Park Ridge and support these claims with evidence. I am not sure they will get that in Deerfied and Northbrook- no charming town there…just strip malls. Chicago and Evanston are too urban to compare too.



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