Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 9:05 am
By MATTHEW KAMP email@example.com | 0 comments
Posted on Mar 12, 2016by Matt Kamp
First proposed at the Edwardsville Finance Committee meeting on Jan. 12, the establishment of the Town Centre Business District will be voted on at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
After a public hearing and two readings apiece by the Finance and Administrative and Community Services committees, all seven aldermen have had a chance to voice their differing opinions about the project that is being proposed near the intersection of Governors’ Parkway and Route 157.
Alderman Craig Louer was present at Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting to learn more before ACS on Thursday, and Alderman Jeannette Mallon attended Thursday’s meeting to prepare for Tuesday’s vote.
The $34 million project would be anchored by a Fresh Thyme grocery store. Other confirmed tenants for the 26-acre retail development are Global Brew Tap House and McAllister’s Deli. There are six additional boxes and five more outlots according to the brochure for NAI DESCO.
Changes have been made since the introduction.
Alderman Barb Stamer questioned the number of criteria needed to meet the requirements of a business district during the first reading at ACS on Feb. 25. The answer was one, and the document was changed to show just poor soil conditions and improper subdivision or obsolete platting as blighted concerns of the six parcels.
The changes didn’t satisfy all of the aldermen.
“My decision largely remains unchanged,” Alderman Will Krause said at Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting. “I want to see the development, but for me and the folks I’ve talked to around my ward, it’s hard to wrap their minds around the definition of blight. The changes that were made, I’m appreciative of. Maybe between now and council I’ll think about that, but at this stage I can still not get over the improper subdivision obsolete platting. It’s a state law, and I get that. I’m more for business districts than TIF districts.”
Krause furthered his thought by saying that the area is hard to define as blighted.
“When the average person is going to drive by this site, they are going to see a green field, a cul-de-sac and a building. They aren’t going to make that connection of what that legal definition of what blight is,” Krause said.
Alderman Janet Stack, who also discussed the plan with residents in her ward, had voiced her concern about the 1 percent tax increase at the business district, which means shoppers would be charged 7.1 percent when shopping there. That doesn’t include anything that’s prescription-related, grocery-related or anything licensed by the state of Illinois. Cigarettes and beer will be affected.
Alderman Art Risavy is for the business district, saying, “I had a chance to poll some people in my ward and the types of businesses you are talking about bringing in are the exact type my residents are interested in. That’s what they kind of expect in Edwardsville.
“It will benefit the school district. It’s going to benefit the city. It’s not a TIF, so I’m in favor.”
How important is it that the property is deemed a business district? Very, according to Chris Byron, of the Edwardsville firm of Byron, Carlson, Petri and Kalb.
“The project is in jeopardy without it. It would more than likely not happen without this,” Byron said Tuesday. “The economic reality is that without something like this, we’d have to compete against what’s happening on the south side. It becomes very hard to pencil. There’s a lot of competition and a lot of ground that could potentially become available for development.”
Byron has been working on the project the last three years.
One of the top competing properties sits to the north of Edwardsville Crossing in Glen Carbon.
If approved in Edwardsville, the first phase of construction would likely be done by spring of 2017 with full completion in spring of 2018. It would provide approximately 100 full-time jobs and 75 part-time jobs.
The business district would also allow Edwardsville to have more control of how the finished project looks.
“If we are going to ask for a little bit more, it’s appropriate in my eyes to participate and contribute a little bit more with this incentive,” Patton said at the Finance Committee meeting.
At Thursday’s ACS meeting, Aldermen Stamer, Tom Butts and Craig Louer moved the resolution on to city council. Butts did say he’s “concerned how it will look,” and that will be further discussed during a development agreement down the road.
Stamer also made sure the ordinance didn’t show the city approved the business district plan done by Moran Economic Development but rather established it.
The benefits of the business district include approximately $75,000 to $90,000 annually in new property tax revenue, $245,000 to $280,000 annually in property taxes to the school district, which amounts to $6 million over a 20-year period, and $190,000 to the city’s general fund, according to Keith Moran, of Moran Economic Development, at a public hearing on Feb. 16.
Edwardsville Crossing is the only other business district in town. In 2014, it paid over $774,000 to the local taxing bodies, including $443,000 to District 7 and $142,000 to the city. Before being constructed, it paid zero in property taxes.
The length of the proposed business district is 23 years, but it can end sooner if all debts are paid.
A majority vote of yes on Tuesday would establish the business district and it would be sent to the Illinois Department of Revenue. It doesn’t provide anything to the developer.
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2016 9:05 am