Belleville

Belleville eyes tax incentive for another aging shopping center

Mark Eckert discusses possible facelift for Shopland

Belleville, Illinois, may charge an extra sales tax at Shopland and rebate the money to a developer who may buy the shopping center and renovate it.
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Belleville, Illinois, may charge an extra sales tax at Shopland and rebate the money to a developer who may buy the shopping center and renovate it.

Belleville leaders are considering a tax incentive plan to boost the renovation of Shopland Plaza, which is just blocks away from a West Main Street shopping center that was granted tax incentives earlier this year.

Money for the Shopland tax incentive would come from an extra 1 percent sales tax shoppers would pay in the shopping center at the intersection of Foley Drive and West Main and 70th streets. Shoppers currently pay an 8.1 percent sales tax in the center.

The amount of the tax incentive is based on sales at businesses in the shopping center and is capped at $2.25 million.

The plan states the extra sales tax would net about $852,000 based on sales in the shopping center over the next 23 years.

We definitely would not be able to do it without the help of the city.

Patrick Lavery of Ace Hardware

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the Shopland proposal on Dec. 5. On Monday night, the Finance Committee voted to recommend that aldermen give the proposed tax incentive to Dennis Lavery, owner of the Ace Hardware at 6938 W. Main St., as part of a redevelopment agreement.

“We definitely would not be able to do it without the help of the city,” said Lavery’s son, Patrick Lavery, following the Finance Committee meeting. He said his family wants “to put a better looking face” on the shopping center if the City Council approves the plan.

Earlier this year, aldermen approved a sales tax incentive plan and TIF grant for the Market Place Shopping Center at 64th and West Main streets and renovation work is already underway there. The former Mad Pricer building in the shopping center is now being converted into a brewery by Todd Kennedy, owner of 4204 Main Street Brewing Co. in Belleville.

Eric Schauster, assistant director of economic development for the city, said Dennis Lavery has said he may spend up to $1.7 million in the first phase to buy the site and make building and parking lot improvements.

The incentive could be used to make improvements in the Shopland shopping center and to buy the aging center, according to the proposal.

They see this as a very, very positive step of reinvestment and recommitment to these areas that show a little bit of age and wear but it gives a lot of hope that they’re going to be renewed and very vibrant again.

Mayor Mark Eckert

Ace is the only tenant in the main building of the shopping center while Jefferson’s Restaurant is in a standalone building in the center.

Mayor Mark Eckert said west Belleville residents and elected officials told him they are excited about the Shopland proposal and the work underway at the Market Place, which along with 4204, also includes Family Dollar, Subway, Marco’s on Main and Shenanigan’s. The Round Table Cafe is in a building in front of the Market Place Shopping Center but is not part of the renovation plan.

“They see this as a very, very positive step of reinvestment and recommitment to these areas that show a little bit of age and wear but it gives a lot of hope that they’re going to be renewed and very vibrant again,” Eckert said.

As part of the process to get sales tax rebated to Lavery as part of what’s called a business district, the city had to rule that the shopping center meets the state’s definition of “blighted” and aldermen did this last month. The City Council based its decision on a study conducted by St. Louis-based Economic Development Resources.

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