Belleville

Hofbräuhaus work in Belleville to speed up, mayor reports

Hofbräuhaus progress? Belleville mayor says it's coming

On Monday night Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said the Hofbräuhaus construction should progress rapidly during the next two weeks. He said more workers were present Monday. Not much activity was evident Tuesday at the construction site on Illinois
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On Monday night Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said the Hofbräuhaus construction should progress rapidly during the next two weeks. He said more workers were present Monday. Not much activity was evident Tuesday at the construction site on Illinois

A couple of weeks ago, Mayor Mark Eckert noted crews at the partially built Hofbräuhaus had performed “minimal” work this spring on the $12 million German restaurant and brewery off Illinois 15.

But Eckert reports this week that the city has been told construction crews are now ready to ramp up their work.

Construction began on the restaurant in late 2015 and the developers, the Keller family of Effingham, have missed multiple goals they have set for getting the building open. The initial goal was June 1, 2016.

Ron O’Connor, spokesman for the Keller family, has said the developers do not have a completion date to announce.

The project is making progress, we’re simply not discussing any details.

Ron O’Connor, spokesman for Hofbräuhaus developers

“The project is making progress; we’re simply not discussing any details,” O’Connor said in a statement Tuesday.

Eckert, however, gave a detailed update to aldermen at the City Council meeting Monday night.

“You will see more people, I think for quite some time now; we’re hopeful,” Eckert said. “There’s a large amount of work planned in the next two weeks and beyond.”

Belleville spent more than $2 million to extend sewer lines to the site but none of the businesses planned for the complex have yet to open. The Kellers have said that along with the Hofbräuhaus, a $28 million Hyatt Place hotel, multiple restaurants, a conference center and a gas station would be built on the land across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

Eckert said the new Hofbräuhaus work includes the following:

▪  A temporary air-conditioning unit will be set up for cooling and dehumidification

▪  Dry wall work

▪  Framing on the domed ceiling

▪  Resume work on the exterior

▪  Pour concrete pad for the brewery equipment

“This is the plan of attack for the next two weeks and there’ll be an update, I believe every two weeks from here on,” Eckert said. “This is a positive step in the right direction and we were very pleased to get these commitments.”

You will see more people, I think for quite some time now, we’re hopeful.

Mayor Mark Eckert

Eckert on Tuesday repeated what he has previously said about the project: He’s “disappointed” on the pace of work but “cautiously optimistic.” He said he could not disclose the person who gave City Attorney Garrett Hoerner the update on the project.

Belleville has granted the Keller family tax incentives worth about $32.36 million but those are based on city tax revenue generated once the businesses are open.

The developer of a proposed soccer park to be built next to the Hofbräuhaus was eligible for $5.5 million in incentives. However, the developer of the soccer park died last summer, and no announcements regarding a soccer park have been made since then.

The Kellers have said work on the Hyatt Place would begin this spring, but construction did not begin and the financier of the hotel has since been sued in federal court in Michigan.

O’Connor said the Kellers will not comment on the lawsuit filed against ICON Commercial Lending.

In Jonesboro, Arkansas, the Keller family also has announced plans to build a Hyatt Place hotel but work on the project stalled earlier this year after contractors were not paid. Chris Keller told Jonesboro leaders last month that he has a financial backer and that construction is expected to resume. Jonesboro had agreed to provide $300,000 in marketing for the project but has since withdrawn that support.

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