Crystal Lake City Council members on Tuesday night approved an investment grant for incoming business, Harbor Freight Tools.
The council awarded the New Retailer Job Creation and Investment Matching Grant application to the national tool-franchise company by a unanimous vote. Councilman Brett Hopkins was absent.
The grant, intended to entice new businesses to the city, will award $10,000 to Harbor Freight Tools to be used toward the cost of furniture, fixtures and equipment costs. Harbor Freight sells hand tools and power tools.
The retail chain intends to move into a 20,314-square-foot space at 6324 Route 14 in the Commons Shopping Center.
The space was previously occupied by the ULTA cosmetics store and Old Country Buffet restaurant, said James Richter II, assistant director of economic development for the city. The new store will hire 10 full-time and 40 part-time employees and is expected to open by the end of November, according to city documents.
Richter said city leaders actively were looking to lure businesses to The Commons, where a majority of the building now stands empty.
"The city has been working with Brixmor, the owners of The Commons, and has been targeting that center to get new tenants," Richter said.
Since 2009, the Crystal Lake has designated a set sum of money annually toward the New Retailer Job Creation and Investment Matching Grant as a way to bring more businesses to Crystal Lake. The money used was generated by home-rule taxes, Richter said.
Crystal Lake's Business Development Program
In 2010, the city's Economic Development Committee, which oversees the grant program, extended the grant applications to existing businesses to promote expansion and improvement. This year, the city has budgeted $80,000 to the grant program.
With two new appliciations approved last night, a total of $45,000 of the grant money has been allocated.
Last year, city and business leaders working together helped fill 571,000 square foot of tenant space with new businesses. Richter said the new business grants are extremely helpful when trying to get new businesses to consider Crystal Lake for their next store.