Local Business

Big R president: Renovation costs, visibility problems led to no store

LAKE IN THE HILLS – High renovation costs and site visibility concerns ultimately are what led Big R department store to not locate in Lake in the Hills, Big R President and CEO Jerry Gibbs said.

The 80,000-square-foot store at Randall and Algonquin roads, formerly a Dominick’s, was expected to create about 45 full-time jobs and generate $160,000 in yearly sales tax, according to village documents.

In May, the Lake in the Hills Village Board authorized a tax incentive for the business that would have split sales tax revenue between the developer and village until the developer had been paid $500,000, documents show. The incentive was meant to help offset the $2.1 million cost of refurbishing and expanding the building.

Big R planned to add an 8,000-square-foot warehouse, repair the parking lot and replace the HVAC systems at the property, documents show.

Although he would not say how much estimated renovation costs increased, Gibbs said the project became too expensive as it moved forward.

“The building was really configured for a grocery store,” Gibbs said Wednesday.

On top of renovation costs, Gibbs said the property is hard to see from the road.

“We’re looking at sites all over the Midwest, and just thought we had better opportunities,” Gibbs said.

The store’s next Midwest opening is set for Lima, Ohio, Gibbs said. Another store opened in November in McHenry, but Gibbs said that did not play a factor in why the business is not coming to Lake in the Hills.

Lake in the Hills officials said they were surprised and disappointed in June when the retailer said it no longer was locating in the village.

Economic development coordinator George Hahne said the village is working with other businesses interested in the space.

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