Downers Grove offers tax incentives to attract Aston Martin dealership

November 12, 2012|By Dawn Rhodes, Chicago Tribune reporter

A new luxury car dealership is up and running in Downers Grove and will stay put for at least the next decade, according to the terms of a new agreement between the village and company officials.

Village council members voted unanimously to a contract in which Napleton Aston Martin, located in the former SAAB building at 217 Ogden Avenue, is guaranteed to operate at that site through January 2028.

The deal is the latest in a series of redevelopment and sales-tax rebate agreements the village has used since 2008 to lure many dealerships to the village, specifically to Ogden Avenue and its corresponding tax increment financing district.  Among the dealerships that penned similar arrangements with the village are Packey Webb Ford, Pugi and Bentley, which expanded to Downers Grove in December 2011, and is located one block west of Aston Martin.

“I said that when we approved the Bentley of Downers Grove that others would follow, and this is a perfect example,” Commissioner Sean Durkin said at the Nov. 6 meeting. “I welcome you with open arms to Downers Grove and look forward to a long-term relationship.”

Napleton general manager Bob Donnan said they acquired the former SAAB building about six weeks ago. As part of the franchise agreement with Aston Martin, they agreed to open one dealership in Downers Grove and a satellite location in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

Michael Cassa, president of the Economic Development Corporation , said getting a car dealership to open in town is a major success simply because there are fewer around for a town to attract. He added that the Downers Grove location is only the second Aston Martin dealer in the Chicago area — the other being north suburban Lake Bluff — a fact that broadens the marketability of the village.

“If you live in DeKalb and you want to buy an Aston Martin, you’re coming to Downers Grove to do that,” Cassa said. “That brings a consumer to our town who would not normally come here. They can eat here, shop here, put gas in their cars.”

Similar to prior negotiations with other dealerships, Napleton agreed to spruce up the property — including a remodeled showroom and upgraded facade—to bring it in line with the village’s master plan for the integral roadway. Those improvements must be completed by Dec. 2013. The dealership also agrees to keep operating for no less than 15 years.
In exchange, the village agrees to a 50-50 split of the dealership’s sales tax revenue after it has surpassed $3 million in sales. Village officials project that the new dealership will generate about $400,000 in sales tax revenue each year, which boils down to an additional $185,000 in tax revenue for the village.

Though only operating for a few weeks, Donnan said he has been impressed by how much support village officials have pledged to the new dealership.

“It’s really important to us to have a presence in the community,” Donnan said. “We’re a new business, too, and I think it’s incredible that they’re willing to work with us to help our
businesses grow.”

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