Business along Illinois 15 are already rolling out the red carpet in anticipation of additional profits from a large development that just broke ground along the roadway in Belleville.
Construction is underway across the road from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows on the estimated $73 million project, where a new Hofbrauhaus and upscale hotel are being built alongside an 11-field soccer complex for Global Sports International.
Hofbrauhaus, a German micro brewery, beer hall, restaurant and beer garden, and the adjacent hotel are valued at $50 to $60 million. The new sports complex has been valued at $12 to $13 million. Together, they are estimated to be bringing 500 new jobs.
And their neighbors cannot wait. Many adjacent businesses anticipate catching some additional customers from the new development. At the Flying J fueling station in Alorton, general manager Jamie Abbott said she believes the visitors to the brewery, hotel guests and soccer fans should bring more consumers to the region.
“It sounds wonderful,” Abbott said. “Obviously, we’re always looking for something to bring more business through our doors. If they will have sporting events there, we definitely would want to be in touch with them and get their schedules ahead of time and have staffing appropriate for extra travelers who would be coming and possibly stopping here.”
Management from Denny’s is also looking forward to the added business. Restaurant general manager Sharon Jant said Denny’s, which has leased its space from Flying J since 2011, is also expecting more diners to come their way from the new development.
“We’re looking forward to it opening,” Jant said. “We’re just down the hill from them. The sports complex should also bring in good revenue for us. When they have tournaments, I think it will help us even more.”
The region’s member-based economic development organization believes this development will become a destination for St. Louis residents. Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Executive Director Ellen Krohne said the brewery, beer hall, motel and sports complex will give consumers a greater reason to come to the metro-east.
“The Hofbrauhaus, hotel and sports soccer complex is going to have a wide economic impact in the region,” Krohne said. “It’s such an easy location to get to from (Illinois) 255. We finally have something that will really draw St. Louis to the region, where they will see and understand all of the wonderful things that Southwestern Illinois has and gives them a good reason to come across the bridge and come see us here.”
Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Lengerman said the chamber is looking forward to promoting these new attractions and the reaction from visitors.
“We are very excited about what they will have,” Lengerman said. “We think it will not only be great for the area by the Shrine in that it will draw folks from St. Louis. You will be able to see the Arch from the hotel conference center. We’re hoping that it will spur some further development up Route 15 out to Eckert’s and the wine garden out that way. I think it will be a real shot in the arm for us.”
Global Sports International’s plans to build a sports complex across the river in Chesterfield, Mo., have stalled because of a disagreement with St. Louis County over paying for infrastructure improvements at the site. The company would still like to operate two venues in the region, with one on each side of the river.
The first Hofbrauhaus was established in Munich, Germany, more than 400 years ago. Belleville will become the eighth U.S. location. The others are in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont; Newport, Ky., near Cincinnati; Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio; Panama City Beach, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Las Vegas.
Krohne has visited the original locale in Germany as well as the one in Chicagoland. She said establishing a location in Belleville will further enhance and distinguish the metro-east from the rest of the region.
“There is nothing like them anywhere else in St. Louis,” she said. “It’s such a unique venue that we will have, and lots of people will come to the region to enjoy Hofbrauhaus, the soccer complex and add to that all of the teams coming to the region, I think it will really be a big energizer for the region.
“We are absolutely thrilled and look forward to working with the new developers in assisting them and promoting all of the wonderful things they will be doing out there as much as we can.”
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 618-239-2526.