Council nixes video gaming, approves Portillo’s and pawn shop
By Mike Danahey email@example.com July 11, 2012 8:48PM
Updated: August 13, 2012 2:08PM
ELGIN — Aside from what takes place at the Grand Victoria Casino, there won’t be any other video gaming in Elgin. But Wednesday night the City Council did unanimously approve plans and an incentive package for a Portillo’s and, by a 4-3 vote, allowed for zoning and rules changes paving the way for a second pawn shop to come to town.
‘Not Las Vegas’
To help fund a $32 billion capital plan, the state’s video gaming act allows municipalities and unincorporated areas to opt into permitting bars, restaurants, truck stops, veterans and service clubs to offer such regulated and licensed gambling.
Some members of the council had asked staff to look into if the city could allow the gaming only at the veterans and service clubs, but legal counsel’s opinion is that the state would not allow Elgin to do so.
Elgin already has laws on its books disallowing such gaming, and Councilman Rich Dunne said those should stay in place — a sentiment echoed by other council members.
Dunne said state is undermining authority of municipalities and is favor of lobbying the state to allow towns to have such gambling only at service clubs.
Councilman John Prigge said anything that might harm the Grand Victoria Casino would be a bad thing. The casino has told the city that other video gaming in town would cut into its take.
“It would be different if we didn’t already have a casino in our borders,” Councilwoman Tish Powell. “For towns without a casino this might make more sense. ... Elgin is not Las Vegas.”
Serving up Portillo’s
The Portillo’s will be located in the strip mall at the southwest corner of Bowes and Randall Road where a Sam’s Club is being built.
The city’s economic incentive proposal fast-tracks the permit process for construction and waives an estimated $134,000 in development fees.
Portillo’s is estimating that it will generate $7.2 million in revenue from the Elgin restaurant in 2013, while employing at least 120 people.
At that sales volume, the city should collect $162,000 in sales tax, exceeding the incentives by $28,000 in a single year.
Portillo’s also intends to eventually build out a 16,000-square-foot retail development for up to eight tenants that would front Bowes Road.
Company owner and founder Dick Portillo said his company has been talking about bringing a restaurant to Elgin for quite some time. He complimented city staff for being professional and helpful.
Main Lane pawnshop
EZPAWN Illinois, Inc. intends to lease the vacant commercial building which had been several restaurants at 1460 Main Lane within the Town and Country Shopping Center and operate under the name Easy Cash Solutions.
The city has Windy City Jewelry & Loan, 943 N. McLean Blvd., which opened in January, 2011 and which is not far from where Mayor David Kaptain and his wife live.
Under city policy, pawn shop licenses are addressed on a case-by-case basis.
At the June 27 meeting, Kaptain, Councilwoman Anna Moeller, Powell, and Councilman John Steffen voted for moving along the shop’s zoning approval, while Dunne, Councilman Robert Gilliam and Prigge voted nay.
Wednesday night the same four voted for final zoning and licensing approval and the same three voted no.
Prigge said he thinks Wednesday’s moves will open the door for at least two more pawnshops by the end of the year.
“We still have discretion for allowing future pawnshops,” Moeller said.