Belleville’s Hofbrauhaus shoots for June 1 opening

A new architect’s rendering of the Hofbrauhaus to be built at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows on Illinois 15 in Belleville.
A new architect’s rendering of the Hofbrauhaus to be built at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows on Illinois 15 in Belleville. Provided

The foundation for the Hofbrauhaus is expected to be poured this month, and developers hope to open the German beer hall and restaurant by June 1.

The Hofbrauhaus would be the first building to begin construction in the hotel, restaurant, convention center and sports complex valued at more than $100 million. The project is off Illinois 15 and across from The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

Mayor Mark Eckert said the developers’ goal of opening the Hofbrauhaus by June 1 depends upon how severe the weather is this winter. He said the steel for the building is expected to arrive on Dec. 1.

“I feel we’re truly out of the gate, but there’s a long stretch and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Eckert said.

It’s full steam ahead. We’re catching the attention of people on both sides of the river.

Mayor Mark Eckert

Geri Boyer, president of the Kaskaskia Engineering Group in Belleville, gave a presentation about the project to the city’s Planning Commission last week. The commission approved the location of the Hofbrauhaus foundation and the exterior design of the building. The board will be asked to approve other facets of the complex, such as parking lots and landscaping, at a later date.

Boyer is representing the Hofbrauhaus developers, Chuck Keller of Effingham and his family.

“The building will be finished on all sides to accommodate esthetics,” Boyer said of the Hofbrauhaus.

Here are additional updates on the project:

▪  The Illinois Department of Transportation wants the developers to make improvements to the intersection of Illinois 15 and North DeMazenod Drive, which is the entry road into the complex. The state wants this work to be completed by 2017, but Boyer said the developers plan to have this finished before that deadline.

▪  Because of the traffic on Illinois 15, IDOT will not allow crosswalks for pedestrians to walk from the Hofbrauhaus to the Shrine. To accommodate the walkers, IDOT wants the developers to build a pedestrian bridge over Illinois 15 by 2020.

▪  A new road from the complex will be built to connect the complex with Illinois 157.

Earlier this year, the Belleville City Council approved tax incentives worth $38 million

Earlier this year, the City Council approved a package of $38 million in tax incentives that are based on the volume of business generated at the complex. The city estimates it would receive about $1 million annually in sales tax revenue once all the phases are completed.

Eckert said it’s “very possible” that the city would reimburse the developers for the roadwork with TIF money produced at the complex. He said those details have not yet been worked out. The TIF funds at the complex cannot be used in other parts of the city, because the district is not adjacent to another TIF district.

The city agreed to extend sewer lines to the complex and this work may start in the late winter, Eckert said.

The hotel, restaurant, convention center and Hofbrauhaus side of the development is valued at $90 million and the sports complex is valued at $13 million.

The sports complex with 11 soccer fields is being developed by Kansas City-based Game On Sports Development, which expects to open the center in September. The complex plans to host regional soccer and lacrosse tournaments that would attract players and their families who would stay in the hotels being developed by the Keller family.

David Thorman of Game On Sports Development said, “We’re moving things forward.” And Eckert echoed Thorman’s comment: “It’s full steam ahead,” he said. “The project’s exciting. We’re catching the attention of people on both sides of the river.”

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