New pizza chain could come to Belleville, but developer wants tax incentives first

MOD Pizza could be coming to Belleville.
MOD Pizza could be coming to Belleville. Wikimedia Commons

The MOD Pizza chain may join the growing number of restaurants in the Belleville Crossing Shopping Center, where a developer is seeking tax incentives worth $131,000 for a new building that could include the pizza place.

A developer with St. Louis-based Lenette Realty Co. said his company is negotiating with MOD Pizza to open a restaurant in a building proposed for a site across from Walgreens and just north of Office Max.

MOD Pizza was founded in Seattle in 2008 and has seven locations in the St. Louis metro area. The Belleville Crossing site would be the chain’s first location in the metro-east.

Charlotte Wayte, spokeswoman for MOD Pizza, declined to comment on the proposed Belleville site because the lease has not yet been finalized.

The company’s website says its restaurants feature a “pioneering fast-casual concept” where customers can choose from more than 30 pizza toppings and the price remains the same no matter what toppings you pick.

MOD Pizza has over 200 locations nationwide, including restaurants in Wentzville, St. Charles, Ladue, Kirkwood, Ellisville, Maryland Heights and Cottleville in the St. Louis metro area.

We think it’s a great area that could use some more options for the people that live around there.

Matt Willett of Lenette Realty Co.

Matt Willett, an asset manager with Lenette, said his company has proposed a 6,000-square-foot building that would have room for two tenants but the building would not be constructed until tenants have signed leases to open in Belleville Crossing.

“We think it’s a great area that could use some more options for the people that live around there,” Willett said.

Annissa McCaskill, director of the city’s Economic Development, Planning & Zoning Department, said she sees a pizza restaurant such as MOD being “very popular with the high school students” who attend nearby Belleville West.

Lenette is seeking a property tax abatement worth an estimated $131,000 over a five-year period. Belleville’s Finance Committee is expected to vote on this request Monday night.

The company also is eligible to get an exemption on state sales tax for construction material purchased in Illinois. Willett said the amount of this exemption was not yet available. The company’s application for the exemption states the building would cost about $1.86 million.

Willett said the tax incentives are necessary to make the deal work. The company estimates construction could be finished next fall.

The city’s Economic Development & Annexation Committee on Wednesday discussed the possibility of MOD Pizza opening in Belleville Crossing and then approved the city staff’s recommendation for Lenette to construct the strip center at 5940 Belleville Crossing St.