BELLEVILLE — The City Council on Monday voted unanimously to approve an agreement with a Swansea businessman to redevelop the former YMCA building.
The City Council went into executive session for less than 15 minutes before emerging to vote on the development agreement that would give out $210,000 in tax increment incentives.
Mayor Mark Eckert said the agreement is a win-win for the city and Charles Kurt Artinger, who wants to rehabilitate the building and move his business to the site.
The historic building at 15 N. First St., which housed the original Belleville Turner Hall, has been vacant and deteriorating since 2006 when the YMCA moved out.
Artinger's interest will save a historical building from demolition and put the property on the tax rolls for the first time, Eckert said.
"I admire Mr. Artinger's willingness to save a building that many people were concerned about and bring jobs to Belleville," Eckert said.
Eckert said he does not know what issues Artinger might run into when he starts the redevelopment, but if things go as planned, "it should be a dynamite deal for Belleville."
In the next couple of weeks, Artinger said he will pay out of pocket for an engineering study and get bids for a final project cost. If the numbers are what he had in mind, then he will contact the bank and get a closing date on the building.
According to the agreement, the city will sell the building for $1, which is what the city paid for the building, to Artinger and Colee LLC.
The initial plans have been drawn so the bids will be more exact, Artinger said. Issues that could drive up the cost of the project are related to heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and whether the business will be required to put in an elevator to be compliant with the American Disabilities Act.
Aldermen tabled the deal in February so attorneys could continue to work on wording and provisions the city requested. For instance, the current draft gives the city 12 years for the first right of refusal in case of default or sale. Earlier drafts said 10 years.
Also, the final draft includes a new clause that states the developer will begin operation of his business at the site within one year of the date of agreement. Otherwise, the property will be given back to the city without the city being reimbursed for costs associated with roof, mold and asbestos work paid for with tax increment financing funds and the city must pay off bank debt related to completed construction.
Previous bids Artinger got showed it will cost up to $800,000 to fix parts of the building. About $350,000 of the cost will be for the new roof, and mold and asbestos removal.
Artinger will get $210,000 in TIF funds to rehabilitate the building. The city also would grant a certificate for sales tax abatement for building materials, an estimated $20,000.
In return, Artinger would invest $500,000 on the first phase, which is to remodel the facility and bring 13,000 square feet of the building up to code within nine months.
Artinger would then lease the space to his Swansea-based business, Replacement Services LLC, and move his 36 employees to Belleville. His company works on lost and stolen jewelry insurance claims.
Artinger would also reserve 5,000 square feet for a business incubator program as part of a different phase. He also agrees to stay at the site for six years and create 12 additional full-time equivalent jobs within the second year of operation.
In other news:
* Aldermen approved a memo of understanding between the city and Harmony Emge School District 175 to have cameras with a live video feed on school property that will be used by the Police Department in case of a "tactical situation."
* Aldermen approved a special use permit so Lindenwood University could build dorms.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at email@example.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville.