Belleville may use TIF funds to help develop senior living centers

News-DemocratOctober 6, 2013 

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert in a 2013 file photo.

ZIA NIZAMI — znizami@bnd.com

— The city of Belleville could be giving up to $425,000 in tax increment financing funds to help develop two unrelated senior living centers.

Both St. Paul's Home and The Cottages at Cathedral Square will use the incentives to offset demolition costs.

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said both faith-based entities have long served as anchors and cornerstones in the city.

He is excited that both groups have the vision and courage to continue investing in Belleville, and he hopes council approves the incentive packages.

"We worked hard to talk St. Paul's Home to stay in Belleville and this project will serve as a catalyst to upgrade things in that old neighborhood," Eckert said. "The Cottages will allow seniors to live downtown, close to the Cathedral and St. Elizabeth's Hospital."

St. Paul's Home is building a $29.5 million addition to its nursing home at 1021 W. E St.

St. Paul's asked the city for up to $250,000 to pay for demolition of the existing nursing home and shelter care facility in 2015 after the new building is completed and occupied. Demolition is priced at $268,792.

The Cottages is a new affordable senior housing development that will be constructed in 2014 at 100 W. Harrison St. in downtown Belleville.

St. Peter's Cathedral is building the $8.2 million cottages right next door.

The Cathedral asked the city for up to $175,000 to help pay for the $288,500 it will take to demolish the old pants factory building on South First Street. The former factory abuts the McCormick Center, the Cathedral grade school's gym, and has been vacant for four decades.

The aldermanic Economic Development and Annexation Committee approved both incentive requests on Wednesday. The Finance Committee will consider the applications before the full council does.

If the City Council approves the incentives, the funds would come from the TIF No. 3 budget.

Eckert said the funds for the Cathedral are available in the current fiscal year's TIF No. 3 demolition budget though the property sits in TIF No. 8.

Funds for St. Paul's would have to be earmarked in TIF No. 3 of the 2015-16 budget, Eckert said.

Eckert said St. Paul's had a "financial shortfall" and said the city's contribution would show the bank that the city supports the project.

"$30 million is a lot of money for any organization to assemble," Eckert said.

Here are more details of the incentive agreements:

*St. Paul's Home -- The city would provide demolition assistance after receiving documentation of the costs incurred.

In return, the nursing home has to invest no less than $29.5 million on construction no later than June 30, 2016; retain 54 full-time jobs and 16 part-time jobs; create five full-time jobs in the first year and stay open at the site for at least five years.

*The Cottages -- The city would provide demolition assistance after receiving documentation of the costs incurred.

The Cottages also asked for certification for the abatement of sales tax on building materials. Savings are estimated at $81,000.

In return, the senior housing development has to invest no less than $8.2 million on construction no later than June 30, 2015, create two on-site management jobs within the first year and stay open at the site for at least five years.

Here are details of the projects:

* St. Paul's will continue to provide people 65 years and older with all levels of care -- regardless of income level -- including long- and short-term stays, assisted care and independent living.

The nonprofit will continue to have about 130 beds, but the new building will be based on a "household" concept in which residents are separated into six households by levels of care. Each household will have its own living room and kitchen, and each resident will have a private area with a window.

* The Cottages will consist of 32 one- and two-bedroom units that are about 1,000-square-foot each. The first floor of the building will have common areas and planned services such as a barber shop, health screening room and fitness center.

Half of the units will be one-bedroom, garden-style units in a single, two-story building. The other units will be two-bedroom units in four separate villa-style, single-story buildings.

Residents must be at least 62 years old, but the expected age of most residents will be at least 75. About 50 seniors have already put their names on the waiting list for the Cottages.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDBelleville.

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