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Palos Hills approves of checking company’s proposed move to city

  • Written by By Michael Gilbert

City officials gave their “blessing” last week to a checking company seeking a property tax incentive from Cook County in order to relocate into Palos Hills.

Members of city council voted 8-0 June 1 to approve a resolution that will be sent to the Cook County Board of Commissioners stating Palos Hills’ support of a request from Carousel Checks Inc. president Andrew Crim for a Class 6B property tax incentive for his business, which he plans to move from Bridgeview to the building currently occupied by Weller Truck Parts, 11152 Southwest Highway. Aldermen Ricky Moore (4th Ward) and Mary Ann Schultz (5th Ward) were absent.

Crim, a former Palos Hills resident, addressed the council during the committee-of-the-whole meeting held beforehand and explained his business’ relocation to Palos Hills is contingent on Cook County approving the tax incentive, which would lower his property taxes by 10 percent for a period of 10 years.

Founded in 2004, the company currently has 86 employees and with the potential move to Palos Hills would add another 15-20 employees, Crim said. Carousel Checks sells personal and business checks to the public and wholesale to more than 200 companies and 800 financial institutions.

“We pretty much sell any type of document a consumer would need as well as a financial institution,” Crim said.

Carousel Checks recorded sales “just shy of $14 million last year” and Crim expected revenue to grow by 15 percent this year to around $16 million.

“We sell into all 50 states,” Crim said, noting Illinois is his second largest market behind California. “Our Illinois sales this year will be around $500,000 to $550,000.”

Occupying around 33,000 square feet in Bridgeview, Crim said the move to Palos Hills would allow his company to expand and grow. He has an agreement to purchase the building from Weller Truck Parts, and then plans to spend roughly $1.6 million on improvements. Adding a shipping dock in the rear of the property and building offices and installing new windows in the front of the building are a few of the renovation plans, he said.

“As we are growing we are bringing in more financial institutions and we want to be a showplace,” Crim said. “With the plans we have we certainly think it is going to be beautiful.

 “We’ve got a lot of substantial plans and we are looking to move into this new facility and continue our growth.”

A meeting before the Plan Commission to discuss Carousel Checks potential move to Palos Hills and renovation plans for the building will be held on July 10. 

Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett made it clear last week he was in favor of Carousel Checks relocation to the city.

“I have multiple conversations with Andy and we’ve already tried to help him and guide him through the process,” Bennett said. “We are talking about an almost $1.6 million investment [to the building], which is substantial for the neighborhood.

“I think this is a great opportunity for us to lure a business from somewhere else and actually have a hometown guy come back to his home town.”

In other news, the council voted 8-0 to enter into a lease agreement with the Florida-based Parallel Infrastructure Towers giving them the authority to erect an approximately 100-foot tall monopole on city-owned property at Krasowski Park, 104th Place and Tod Drive.

As part of the agreement, PI Towers will allow the Palos Hills Police Department to place an antenna on the tower to enhance the communication devices used by officers, Bennett said.

PI Towers will give the city an initial payment of $5,000 for the right to erect the tower and then pay $24,000 annually to lease the land, Palos Hills City Attorney George Pappas said. If PI Towers wants to renew the agreement after five years there would be a 10 percent increase in the annual fee. The lease starts once PI Towers begins construction at the site, Pappas noted.

A provision in the contract would require PI Towers to pay for the removal of the monopole should it ever need to come down, Pappas said.

PI Towers could begin construction at the site as soon as August, Palos Hills Building Commissioner Nicholas Oeffling said.