The future of the Illinois 15 corridor in Belleville would take a dramatic change if developers succeed in their plans to build more than $100 million in hotels, restaurants and a multi-sport park with 11 soccer fields.
To get these projects off the ground, developers are seeking about $38 million in tax incentives from the city.
And on Thursday night, the City Council’s Finance Committee unanimously approved these incentives and sent the proposals to the full City Council for a vote Tuesday night.
The Keller family of Effingham has plans to build a Hofbrauhaus brew pub, up to four hotels, several restaurants, a convention center and a convenience store off Illinois 15 across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
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They initially estimated the value of the project at $50 million and now place the value at $90 million, according to city officials.
Kansas City-based Game On Sports Development has plans to build a sports complex with 11 soccer fields and a restaurant. This complex has an estimated value of $13 million.
The Keller family seeks $32.36 million in tax incentives, more than double the original request of $15.69 million. Meanwhile, Game On Sports Development seeks $5.5 million in incentives.
Before the committee members voted on these incentives, Mayor Mark Eckert told them the developers only get the money if hotels are built and people travel to Belleville for tournaments at the sports complex and fill those hotels. “They don’t get it unless they perform,” he said.
John Signorino, a partner of Game On Sports Development, said along with soccer, the complex will host lacrosse, volleyball and rugby players.
He said Belleville is an attractive location for the complex because “it’s in the middle of this core area of St. Louis where soccer is a big deal and it has been for years. The roots of soccer in the U.S. are in St. Louis.”
“The biggest component will be soccer and the second will be lacrosse and lacrosse is growing at a pace like soccer was 20, 25 years ago,” he said.
Here are highlights of the tax incentives sought by the developers:
▪ The Keller family would get 4 percentage points of the hotel and motel sales tax revenue generated at the site. They would receive this for 20 years after each hotel opens.
This is contingent upon the city increasing the hotel and motel tax from 5 percent to 8 percent. The proposed sports complex would receive 2 percentage points of the hotel tax produced on the site while the city would get the remaining 2 percentage points.
▪ A tax increment financing district would give the Kellers property tax rebates of $6 million if two hotels are built along with the Hofbrauhaus, convention center and four upscale restaurants. If two additional hotels are built, this rebate would increase to $8 million, or $1 million for each new hotel.
▪ The business district established on the site allows a 1 percent sales tax to be collected at the complex and the Keller development would keep all of this revenue for 23 years.
These plans have already been approved by the city’s Economic Development and Annexation Committee.