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East Dundee OKs TIF funding for Anvil Club renovations

Tom Roeser stands front one distressed properties he purchased Meier Street East Dundee last year. Roeser also has taken over

Tom Roeser stands in front of one of the distressed properties he purchased on Meier Street in East Dundee last year. Roeser also has taken over the helm of the 60-year-old Anvil Club (behind him to the left). | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: January 5, 2014 6:20AM

EAST DUNDEE — Local businessman Tom Roeser will receive more than $400,000 in tax increment finance funds from the village to help pay for the renovations to the Anvil Club.

Roeser, the president of Otto Inc. in Carpentersville, has purchased several East Dundee sites to help revamp the downtown. He recently took the helm of the iconic supper club at 309 Meier St.

Trustees voted 4-1 Monday night to use the TIF funds for the Anvil Club. Trustee Allen Skillicorn cast the lone vote against the measure. Trustee Robert Gorman was not at the meeting.

With a TIF, the amount of tax dollars received by the various local taxing bodies from district property owners is frozen. Money collected in property taxes above that amount is used to revitalize the TIF with infrastructure and other improvements.

Roeser said he anticipates spending $640,000 on renovations to the supper club and that his total investment in the building is $1.04 million. He is seeking a 40 percent recapture of the investment over a three-year period, $75,000 of which is part of the village’s facade grant program.

Before the vote was taken, Village Trustee Michael Ruffulo said via teleconference he initially had reservations about Roeser’s request.

“But to me, it’s a no-brainer at this point,” he said. “Tom Roeser isn’t a developer who is going to run away. He’s done so many good things for our village.”

While Skillicorn said he appreciates what Roeser is doing in the village, he could not vote in favor of allotting TIF funds for a project that wouldn’t benefit the entire community.

“I think (Roeser) is a hero for taking on that property, and I think it’ll be a success,” Skillicorn said. “But when I ran for trustee, I made a commitment that all redevelopment had to have a public/private infrastructure part such as building streets, sewers, parks. And since this one doesn’t have a public part everyone can utilize, I have to vote nay.”

Trustee Jeff Lynam disagreed with Skillicorn’s argument.

“There is no restriction from anybody taking part in the Anvil Club and signing up for a membership,” he said.

Marketing plan

With annual sales of $1.5 million, the Anvil Club has generated more than $1 million in sales taxes over the last 10 years and its property taxes have generated more than $200,000 over the last 10 years, according to the village.

Roeser’s marketing plan for the restaurant includes a revised Web presence, an extensive campaign that will highlight East Dundee, and reaching out to past members detailing the investments in the club in hopes of seeing their return to the membership ranks.

In its prime, the Anvil Club boasted about 4,000 members. Today, it stands at a little more than 1,600 dues-paying families, with only 37 of those from East Dundee. He said the reason given most often for the decline in membership is the condition of the building.

He also plans to extend a guest pass to all East Dundee residents allowing them one visit to experience and enjoy the club and receive a 15 percent discount on that visit’s dinner bill. And because the investment would be from East Dundee residents, he plans to offer them a 50 percent reduction in the $250 initiation fee and a 50 percent reduction in the $200 annual membership fees.

Renovations to the nearly-60-year-old building include new bathrooms, electrical work to correct life and safety issues, fire sprinklers, siding, windows, flooring, HVAC, and other interior work.

Roeser was not at Monday night’s meeting but had said earlier the village’s financial assistance in the form of tax increment finance funds will prevent “a vacant eyesore that would be a long-term distraction” from plans to revitalize the downtown.

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