JOLIET – Hawk Auto is working on a third dealership for the corner of Route 59 and Caton Farm Road, the dealer’s lawyer said Monday.
The City Council votes Tuesday on plans for the project, which now includes the relocation of Hawk’s Mazda and Volkswagen dealerships from Jefferson Street, and a $3.5 million incentive package for the dealer.
The addition of a third dealership adds the potential for more car sales in Joliet but also comes as residents have been raising concerns about the traffic impact of the two dealerships now slated for the busy intersection.
Attorney Michael Hansen told the council at a workshop meeting on Monday that Hawk Auto wants to alter the incentive package to apply to a third potential dealership. The incentives, which would come through sales tax rebates, would still be capped at $3.5 million but could also cover sales from a third dealership.
Hansen said Hawk Auto President John Crane “is actually working right now – I can tell you he’s doing this – on attracting a new dealership to this market.”
The new dealership would be a car brand not now being sold in Joliet, Hansen said.
Joliet Economic Development Director Steve Jones said the rebate package will reduce the amount of annual sales taxes the city gets from the Mazda and Volkswagen dealerships for an estimated 10 years. But adding a third dealership could reduce that timeline dramatically, he said.
Jones called the incentive package “a cost of doing business” as the city tries to keep car dealerships in town.
“We know we lost a dealer to Romeoville relatively recently. We know that other towns are talking with our dealers,” he said.
Thomas Toyota is moving from Joliet to Romeoville after getting a tax-rebate incentive package worth $8.2 million.
Residents in the vicinity of Route 59 and Caton Farm Road, meanwhile, have been voicing concerns about the impact of the dealership on traffic safety.
“I believe that that intersection is the second or third most dangerous intersection in the city,” resident Scott Ward told the council on Monday.
He said there will need to be new turn lanes to provide access to the dealership and urged the city to block Caton Farm traffic from making left turns into the BP gas station, which is on the southwest corner. Hawk Auto is going into the northwest corner on land that now is part of the Joliet Park District’s Wedgewood Golf Course.