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Former restaurant site will become home to Providence Bank & Trust

Thrifty local residents will soon have another savings institution to choose in Palos Heights, with plans underway to convert a former restaurant at 6431 W. 127th St. into a Providence Bank & Trust facility.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, a motion was made to adopt an ordinance for a B-1 Special Use in a B District (retail), which will allow the company to operate a bank at that site. The building is the former AneMoNe restaurant. Before that, it had been a Baker’s Square.

The motion passed.

“We’re going to step up the exterior and renovate,” said Kevin L. Botma, chief operating officer and cashier at Providence Bank. “We’ll add a drive-up on the south side of the building and make it into a 4,000 square-foot banking facility. We anticipate teller (service), the drive-up, mortgage staff, wealth advisors and trust advisors.”

Botma, who attended the city council meeting with Brian Reno, principal with Stantec Architecture in downtown Chicago, estimated “six to eight months” for the property to be ready for business.

Included is an agreement with the City of Palos Heights for an Annual Retail Tax Recovery Fee to be paid to the city by Providence. The fee is requested by the city when a non-retail establishment takes over a former retail space, resulting in less tax revenue to the city. It is based on what a retail business would typically generate over the year.

But even though the fee will add to the city coffers, it doesn’t sit well with Ald. Dolores Kramarski of Ward 3, however.

Kramarski, who with Ald. Bob Basso of Ward 2 voted against the motion, said she doesn’t support the fee.

“I think the government is in my wallet enough. I don’t think I need a business to come into town and be taxed again. I think the only tax they should pay is a business license if it’s mandatory for them to do so.”

Kramarski characterized the Annual Tax Recovery Fee as “unfair,” pointing out that some businesses that have taken over former retail space have been required to pay the fee while others have not.

“Chase paid the city, United paid the city,” she said referring to other banks. “But we’ve had other businesses come in on Harlem Avenue and we didn’t charge them, like law offices and Advocate Health Care.”

Ald. Jeff Key of Ward 1, who voted for the motion, told The Regional News “We don’t want to give up all the property in town to service-related businesses or banks, but we are getting something in return. Rather than have empty buildings at least we’re getting a recovery of what normally would have come out of a retail tax.

“Is it a perfect situation?” said Key. “No. We all want 100 percent retail, but that’s not rational. This way the buildings are being used, we are receiving something we normally wouldn’t get and it kind of takes the edge off.”

But Kramarski was steadfast.

“I’m glad the bank is taking over. If they can fill it (empty building), fine. I just don’t think we should extort money from them. I think it smells.”

Editor’s note: The next city council meeting, at 7 p.m. July 18, will, be held at the Recreation Center, 6601 W. 127th Street due to renovations to council chambers at city hall. Live broadcast on Palos Heights TV Channel 4 will not be available, but Channel 4 will tape the meetings and air them soon thereafter. The council meetings at the Rec Center will be held there until further notice.

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