First reported 5/14/2009 11:59 a.m.
A struggling Forest Park car dealer made the list of 789 Chrysler dealerships that the automaker intends to close across the country.
In a federal bankruptcy court filing in New York, Chrysler listed those dealerships that will not see their franchise agreements renewed. Cutting dealerships in the suburbs of many major U.S. cities is part of Chrysler’s restructuring effort. Currie Motors, at 8401 Roosevelt, is swept up in that process.
The Currie Group, which also runs a Chevrolet dealership in Forest Park, had previously sought tax relief from the municipality. The local company was considering a consolidation of its businesses as a way to mitigate crippling financial losses suffered in the auto sales plummet of the last year. The tax relief would subsidize renovations necessary for the consolidation.
No firm dollar amounts have been discussed publicly, but during a February village council meeting Currie Group indicated it was looking for an estimated $1 million in public money.
Forest Park council members expressed support for the request, but conversations between the company and the village dropped off while Currie Group explored other potential solutions. Among the possible fixes, Mayor Anthony Calderone had said, is to bring in a new product line.
It appears, though, that Currie Group has revitalized its discussion with the village and, according to Commissioner Rory Hoskins, it recently proposed specific terms for council members to consider. The municipality is still considering the request, said Hoskins.
Hoskins said he spoke with Matt Creen, an attorney for the local dealerships, the day Chrysler’s list made national headlines.
“The situation is fluid, but we hope to keep them in Forest Park,” Hoskins said.
Typically, such tax agreements allow a business to retain a portion of what it would otherwise pay to the municipality in sales taxes. Property taxes are also often the subject of such agreements, though Currie Group specifically addressed the issue of sales taxes with the council in February. The village already has several of these agreements with other businesses, and has used them to either lure new companies into Forest Park, or help an existing business pay for expansion.
Creen declined to comment to the Review on Chrysler’s restructuring plans and any impact the May 14 announcement may have on Currie Group’s presence in Forest Park.