Auffenberg Dealer Group will be relocating from O’Fallon to Shiloh with a $40 million project to develop a 36-acre lot on the corner of Frank Scott Parkway and Fortune Boulevard.
“It’s a great opportunity to grow the business moving forward over the next decade,” said Jamie Auffenberg Jr., president of Auffenberg Dealer Group. “This is not a few-year project. This is something that we think will work for us long past me and well into the next generation — and hopefully the one past that — so we look forward to growing our business at this location.”
The project was OK’d by the Board of Trustees at the Committee at Large meeting at Shiloh Village Hall Monday evening.
According to commercial real estate broker and consultant Terry Johnson of Barber Murphy Group Inc., 32 acres of the total project site has been acquired from BJC Healthcare with an expected purchase closing set for November. The approximate three-four acre addition won’t go to closing until Feb. 2018, he said.
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He said while the timetable for the project is still being worked out, the Auffenbergs’ plan to file for a preliminary plat next in May, and go before the board of trustees again for approval in June.
After the preliminary plat is moved forward, Johnson said, “we will go into full engineering.”
“At this point we don’t anticipate asking for any variances on green space or anything like that,” Johnson said.
Requests for a final plat is expected sometime later this year after the summer, he noted.
Auffenberg plans to invest in extensive site work, public streets and utility extensions, and a new traffic signal on Frank Scott Parkway, among other aspects of the project.
“Right now, the game plan would be to be poised and ready to start street work, sewer infrastructure, water extension, all of our infrastructure, traffic signal, work on Frank Scott this time next year,” Johnson said.
So, around April 1, 2018, Johnson said he will come before the Shiloh Village Board again, with the Auffenbergs, with a full construction timeline.
“The Auffenberg family leases their other buildings. They don’t want to lease there any longer than they have to. The idea here is to get in as soon as possible,” Johnson said.
The current St. Clair Auto Mall was constructed in 1989 with the final structure built in 2004. The current site is located on 22 acres that were undermined and subject to mine subsidence. The buildings and parking lots are in need of major updates as required by the individual manufacturers and franchisors. The current facilities are leased from an out-of-state company, not owned by the Auffenbergs.
The Auffenbergs said the search for a new location began in 2015. Johnson said multiple sites in the metro-east area were considered, based on primary needs, including a minimum of 25 acres, interstate visibility and access, and not having potential mine subsidence issues.
John Marquart, the village administrator, said no TIF dollars will be used for the project, calling it a “complete game-changer for the village.”
The project will, however, receive some of the new sales tax revenue generated at the site. Without financial assistance from the village through a sales tax-sharing agreement, the development project would not be possible, said Johnson.
“It is important to note that the village will not be advancing any funds, guaranteeing any bonds, and has no financial obligation, but (will) rebate a portion of new sales tax dollars coming to the village from the project,” Johnson said.
Mark Kurtz was the lone opposing trustee on the board.
“My vote (Monday night) was against this, not because I’m against the improvement of the village’s retail base, but because we are giving away three quarters away of our 1 percent sales tax, which will be $1.2 million a year to Auffenberg. That’s the administrative cost burden of the village right now. Three hundred thousand dollars is what we will be living on for the next 15 years on this, and I don’t believe that’s a good economic sense to the village, because it will probably cost us more than $300,000,” Kurtz said.
“I’m proud they selected the village of Shiloh. Working with them has been a pleasure. This is a great new development for the village and continues to show that development opportunities in Shiloh are positive,” said Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier.