Lansing limits Walmart's ability to appeal property taxes

2013-08-20T23:00:00Z 2013-08-21T10:14:05Z Lansing limits Walmart's ability to appeal property taxesGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 20, 2013 11:00 pm  • 

LANSING | The Village Board approved an amendment Tuesday to an agreement with Walmart that limits the retailer's ability to appeal property tax bills in the future.

Trustees voted 6-0 to amend the deal, which would bring a Super Walmart to Lansing. The board originally approved the agreement in May.

Under the amended deal, Walmart cannot appeal any rise in property tax bills if the increase determined by the Cook County assessor’s office is less than 7.5 percent.

Any increase of more than that amount in property tax bills could not be challenged for less than a 7.5 percent increase.

Village Administrator J. Wynsma said the amendment is the final action needed by Lansing. Construction at the site of a former Sam’s Club warehouse retailer at 17555 Torrence Ave. will not begin for several more weeks.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the Cook County Board have to approve permits for the project, the latter of which would be for demolition of the existing structure.

The retailer applied for a water district permit at the end of July. Wynsma said officials have been told approval could come Aug. 29 when the water district board of commissioners meets in Chicago.

Once both permits are issued, demolition can begin. Wynsma said he expects that to occur in late September or early October, particularly since Walmart officials have told village officials they want to open the new store by July 2014.

“We fully expect to see demolition begin by October,” Wynsma said, adding he is not concerned about delays and speculation by some that the Walmart project is off schedule.

“This project was never off track,” he said. “It’s going to happen.”

Under the proposal approved earlier this year, Walmart officials plan to build an 169,000-square-foot structure at the site of the former Sam’s Club, which has sat vacant since 2009 when the building was abandoned for a location in the River Oaks West shopping center in neighboring Calumet City.

Walmart officials have said they want to build a Super Walmart store at the Lansing site because of its proximity to the Torrence Avenue exit on Interstate 80/94. The retailer also is planning to build a new Super Walmart by the Cabela’s outdoors store off I-80/94 at Indianapolis Boulevard in nearby Hammond.

The Super Walmart format would include a full-scale supermarket, home goods, interior decoration items, a liquor department, a garden center and outdoor seasonal items. The new Lansing store would replace the existing Walmart at 16771 Torrence Ave.

Under the deal, the village has recommended a Class 8 property tax break from Cook County and also has reached an agreement that would give the retailer a share of Lansing’s cut in sales tax proceeds.

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