Glenview officials want to revitalize commercial districts
Glenview village officials are taking new steps to revitalize commercial districts in the village.
At its June 7 meeting trustees, the Glenview Village Board hired business development consultant, Mallon and Associates, Inc. of Wheaton. But trustees first pulled the resolution off the consent agenda so they could revisit the consultant’s $109,000 contract before voting.
Appearing before the Board, the company’s founder Mike Mallon expressed enthusiasm for getting started recruiting new businesses. Under the contract, Mallon and Associates, Inc. gets a $7,000 monthly retainer over 12 months, plus out of pocket and hourly costs for approved additional work.
Revitalization of targeted districts referred to as “preferred spark sites,” is promising, but, “It won’t happen overnight,” Mallon said.
A goal of Glenview’s is to jump-start stagnant spark sites such as the 1700 block of Glenview Road which has a high number of vacant storefronts in a row on the north side of the street, officials said.
The board on Tuesday also approved another resolution. This one launches two programs, a tenant improvement program and a facade improvement program, that Mallon will promote as part of the pitch to developers or businesses who might also be interested in grant incentives.
“The role of Mallon and Associates will be both development adviser and business recruiter,” Jeff Brady, Glenview director of community development, said.
“As part of getting new tenants in,” Brady said, “let’s just say that if you have a vacant tenant space, and that, why is the vacant tenant space not being rented? Is it because the outside might not be improved, is it the inside might not be improved?”
“And so, if we can match some property owners with tenants, and utilize some of these business support tools to kind of bridge that economic gap to allow new tenants to come into town, that would be one of his (Mike Mallon’s) roles to kind of facilitate those conversations,” Brady said.
Similar facade and build out programs by local municipalities have been enacted with a steady number of applications and subsequent grants to business owners and tenant occupants, such as in nearby Wheeling.
For Glenview, qualifying tenants and businesses must apply for the program, meeting criteria, with a percentage of allowable improvement expenses being reimbursed as a grant to the applicant.
The facade improvement program will match 50 % of improvement costs up to $37,500 for qualified improvements. The tenant improvement program matches up to 50 % of total tenant improvement costs up to $50,000. Applicants can only receive grant money within a five-year period.
To start, the grants would be split evenly between the two programs. Properties with unresolved code enforcement cases are not eligible to receive grant funding.
The village set aside $271,000 to fund both assistance programs with most of it, $230,000, coming from the FY2022 budget.
“I want downtown and The Glen to be prioritized,” Village Trustee Tim Doron said. “I just hope we do it.”
Brady said it is possible the village could receive numerous first come, first served basis requests to tap out the $271,000 allocation.
If demand outpaces available funds, “I think we’ll cross that bridge when it happens,” Brady said, “but it would be a good problem to have.”
Glenview Village Manager Matt Formica said, “I think these are all great accomplishments in terms of moving forward with the recommendations outlined in our downtown strategic plan and the economic development strategic plan,” Formica said. “We’re continuing to move forward.”
Separately, a new restaurant is coming to Glenview, opening late this summer or in fall, called Social Inn (2733 Pfingsten Road) with 90 seats.
Social Inn is described as a modern restaurant with an urban atmosphere, featuring a menu influenced by European culture. Social Inn will have an upscale bar requiring a granted liquor license.
“We’re trying to bring a little bit more life, to bring the people back to social life,” said Georgi Urdov of Park Ridge, president of Social Inn. That’s why we named the place, Social Inn, so people can start to do social(izing) again after the COVID.
“We really miss being social,” Urdov said. “We tried to do something very different.”
Karie Angell Luc is a freelancer for Pioneer Press.