Belleville city leaders have their eyes set on another aging, west-side shopping center.
The Economic Development and Annexation Committee on Wednesday night unanimously voted to recommend the City Council hire Economic Development Resources LLC to study whether the Shopland strip mall at the intersection of Foley Drive and 70th and West Main streets would be eligible to be included a new business district.
In this type of district, shoppers can be charged up to an extra 1 cent sales tax and the money can be used to pay for redevelopment of the shopping center, which was built in the 1960s. Shoppers currently pay an 8.1 percent sales tax.
The center must be found to be “blighted” in order to qualify to be in a business district.
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We love the west end and for us to be able to keep things fresh and exciting over there and still have people come that way, I would be for it.
Jim Grindstaff, a co-owner of Jefferson’s restaurant
It once was the home of the Shopland grocery store and now Hometown Ace Hardware is the anchor tenant.
In May, aldermen accepted a study from Economic Development Resources that showed the nearby Market Place Shopping Center, which includes the old Mad Pricer grocery store, was “blighted.” And last month, the city approved $2.49 million in tax incentives for renovation of the center at 6401 W. Main St. and then the developer announced that 4204 Main Street Brewing Co., Belleville’s craft brewery, will open a canning facility and tasting room in the old Mad Pricer.
Dennis Lavery, owner of the Hometown Ace Hardware at 6938 W. Main St., said he supports the business district plan because it would pave the way for “dramatic improvements needed to breathe new life back into the shopping center.”
He previously said he plans to expand his store into the two vacant shops to the east of his front door early next year. He also said he was pleased to hear of the redevelopment planned for the Market Place Shopping Center.
Jefferson’s restaurant is in a building in front of the Shopland shopping center and is included in the business district proposal.
Jim Grindstaff, a co-owner of Jefferson’s, said he hasn’t seen details of the Shopland plan but from what he heard about it initially, he would support it.
“We love the west end and for us to be able to keep things fresh and exciting over there and still have people come that way, I would be for it,” he said.
Ward 4 Alderman Raffi Ovian urged the committee to support the Shopland plan. “It will enhance and improve the west end corridor,” he said.
The Shopland proposal calls for Economic Development Resources to be paid $30,000 for the study. City officials said this cost would be recovered from a developer who signs a development agreement to use the extra sales tax revenue raised in the business district.
The Finance Committee will vote on the plan at 7 p.m. Monday in the administrative office of the fire department at 1125 S. Illinois St. because City Hall is undergoing renovations. If the Finance Committee supports the plan, the full City Council will be asked to vote on the measure on Aug. 15.