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Antioch weighs incentive strategy

MaStreet downtown Antioch. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

Main Street in downtown Antioch. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 20, 2013 6:08AM

ANTIOCH — A letter from a developer indicating Panera Bread is interested in an Antioch location is encouraging village officials to come up with a strategy or plan to offer incentives to desirable businesses.

The letter asks village officials to consider making up a $150,000 gap between the seller of a parcel near Menards on Route 173 and the price Panera, expected to generate up to $2 million in sales annually, is willing to pay.

Village Administrator James Keim said more municipalities are offering incentives, such as the sales tax rebate proposed by Panera, to encourage development as the economy improves.

“It’s not uncommon for developers or retailers to ask for incentives,” said Keim. “Some of our neighboring communities are implementing new incentive policies as part of their marketing or development strategies.”

The Village Board has agreed not to give away money to any new businesses without first discussing and adopting an overall strategy.

“As much as I like Panera I am not in favor of giving away sales tax revenue,” said Trustee Jay Jozwiak.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to offer incentives. Keim suggested options like giving breaks on building permits or utility connection fees.

“I would like to explore other incentive options,” said Trustee Ted Poulos. “Panera is the kind of business that will bring business in from other towns. Many village residents I have talked to want a Panera here in Antioch.”

“We need to get a plan together and know what incentives are available that we can offer. Developing an incentive plan needs to be a priority as the economy picks up,” said Trustee Mary Dominiak.

“Now is the time to start working on this. Our neighbors are doing it and so should we,” said Keim.

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