The Bellwood Aldi at 400 Mannheim Road could be poised for remodeling. | File
Friday, October 14, 2022 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
One Aldi in the Proviso Township area is poised to undergo significant renovations while plans to build another one have been scrapped.
The Aldi at 400 Mannheim Road in Bellwood could be slated for about $1.6 million in improvements, said Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey on Oct. 14.
The mayor said the village has been negotiating with Aldi “for a while.” The negotiations, he said, resulted in the village deciding to give the company about $400,000 to spur the remodeling effort.
“Hopefully work starts this year,” the mayor said. “We’re waiting for the agreement to be sent back to us and plans drawn up and submitted to the village soon.”
Harvey said the $400,000 subsidy will come from a sales tax fund created many years ago. The fund has since been eliminated but there’s still money in it, he added.
“Years and years ago, we had a business district sales tax [along the Mannheim Road corridor], in which businesses in the district paid higher taxes than others and that money was used to improve and beautify businesses in the corridor,” the mayor said. “We haven’t spent any of that money, so this is an opportunity to spend some and give incentives for a good cause.”
A department report included in a Sept. 21 village board meeting agenda indicated that the village “has entered into negotiations with Aldi, Inc. for the grocery store to remain in the Village, on line of the Aldi, Inc. relocating its grocery store the Village has agreed to provide Aldi with certain economic incentives.”
The agenda item prompted concerns among some community members that Aldi could be threatening to move, particularly as a new Aldi store located in the north parking lot of North Riverside Park Mall in North Riverside approaches completion and as Aldi was reported last year to be planning another store on the corner of Roosevelt and Mannheim roads.
In a statement the company emailed Village Free Press earlier this week, an Aldi spokesperson said the Bellwood store “will remain open and operating as usual.” And Harvey said there was no discussion with Aldi officials that involved the village approving subsidies in exchange for the company’s commitment to continue operating its store in the village.
Aldi representatives could not be immediately reached on Friday afternoon to confirm and discuss details about Mayor Harvey’s announcement of the pending remodeling.
But in the email, the Aldi spokesperson did state that the company “does not have any plans to pursue a development in Westchester,” indicating a turn of events from just a year ago, when Aldi was mentioned in a draft purchase and sale agreement as one of three major retailers poised to move into town.
In an interview on Oct. 14, Greg Hribal, Westchester’s interim village manager, said any serious proposal to build an Aldi on the site of village-owned land at 1107 S. Mannheim Road and 10300 W. Roosevelt Road went out the door along with the developer that brought the proposal to the village.
In June 2021, the Westchester village board unanimously voted in favor of two purchase and sale agreements that would turn over the two properties, one of which is the site of Westchester’s Village Hall and police station, to Glazier Development, a Chicago-based real estate development company.
Glazier was supposed to purchase the properties for $4.7 million and build a retail complex that would have included an Aldi, Starbucks and a Panera Bread, among other smaller retailers.
But that agreement was never finalized after negotiations fell through. Hribal said the village has since parted ways with Glazier and is currently negotiating a letter of intent to purchase the property with another developer. Hribal said he isn’t comfortable identifying the developer yet because negotiations are ongoing.
Earlier this year, the village board retained Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, a municipal law firm, to represent Westchester in the negotiations.
Hribal said while the new developer has not identified any specific retailers it seeks to lure to Roosevelt and Mannheim, the new proposed development will have a similar design and footprint to the one proposed by Glazier. The new developer also looks to bring a fast casual dining establishment to town, he said.