Metro-east craft brewer plans expansion
Construction work to convert the former Mad Pricer grocery store into a brewery is scheduled to begin on Monday and Todd Kennedy, the owner of 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. in Belleville, hopes to raise a toast with a new beer brewed in the old store by Feb. 14.
“We’ve always said that we wanted to bring brewing back to Belleville on a big scale,” Kennedy said. “What we do now is great but where we want to go, it’s not large enough. The facility was right here on West Main, consistent with our theme and who we are and it just seemed like a great fit.”
To help fund the project, Kennedy is seeking a state sales tax exemption of about $81,000 on construction materials and fixtures used in his plan to spend $2.2 million to open the brewery in the 6400 block of West Main Street.
On Wednesday, the city’s Economic Development & Annexation Committee approved Kennedy’s request.
Kennedy, who expects to have 13 investors in the project, said the full sales tax exemption probably would not be realized because a lot of the fixtures he needs for the brewing operation are not available to buy in Illinois. He said he may only receive about $40,000 in sales tax exemptions instead of proposed amount of $81,000.
We’ve always said that we wanted to bring brewing back to Belleville on a big scale. What we do now is great but where we want to go, it’s not large enough. The facility was right here on West Main, consistent with our theme and who we are and it just seemed like a great fit.
Todd Kennedy, owner of 4204 Main Street Brewing Co.
The proposed development agreement calls for Kennedy to invest at least $1.6 million but he told the committee the project is estimated to cost $2.2 million.
Kennedy also would be required to create 10 jobs in the first year of operation and commit to annual sales subject to sales tax of at least $50,000. However, Kennedy said the new site could eventually produce $300,000 to $400,000 in revenue subject to sales tax. The wholesale beer sales are not included in this figure.
In the next step for the tax incentive, the Finance Committee will consider the measure on Monday night and the full City Council would be asked to give it final approval on Sept. 19.
Here’s how the incentive would work if the plan is approved: The city would certify the old Mad Pricer site in the 6400 block of West Main Street as being in the city’s enterprise zone. In this type of designation, developers can qualify to receive an exemption on state sales taxes of building materials used exclusively for the remodeling of the existing building.
Kennedy opened a craft brewery and restaurant in 2014 at the company’s namesake address at 4204 W. Main St. in Belleville.
But demand for his beers is outstripping production capacity at the original site.
Kennedy currently can produce 4,000 barrels of beer a year and the expansion would allow him to brew 60,000 barrels of beer annually. Smaller batches of new types of beer will still be brewed at the original brewery.
Kennedy said if all his plans come to fruition, 4204 would be the sixth largest brewer in the St. Louis region.
He said his company has already invested over $3 million in west Belleville and expects to have over $3 million in sales this year.
“We’re just glad to be Belleville’s brewery, people are finally starting to see us as Belleville’s brewery,” Kennedy said.
The new brewery will including canning operations, a pub, offices for 4204’s support staff and possibly a multipurpose room for banquets, wedding receptions or corporate events.
We don’t have anything like this on this side of the river. This is going to be a game changer for retail strip centers in this city.
Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton, who owns a clothing store near the new brewery
“We don’t have anything like this on this side of the river,” said Ward 8 Alderman Roger Wigginton, who owns a clothing store near the new brewery. “This is going to be a game changer for retail strip centers in this city.”
In July, Belleville granted tax incentives to Adam Hill, the developer who plans to renovate the Market Place Shopping Center that dates to the 1970s. Kennedy said will purchase the vacant grocery store from Hill and the closing is expected later this month.
Here’s a breakdown on Hill’s incentives:
▪ An extra 1 percent sales tax will be collected on items purchased within the shopping center. This money will be used to help pay for renovations in the center at 6401 W. Main St. Shoppers now pay 8.1 percent in sales tax. Aldermen created a special business district that allows for this tax to be collected.
▪ A $275,000 TIF grant will be awarded to Hill for the renovation. Hill has said the cost to buy the site and renovate it is about $4 million.
The value of these incentives is capped at $2.49 million.