Adam Hill, a Belleville developer, wants to renovate a westside shopping center, where the first building opened over 40 years ago.
But Hill said the Market Place Shopping Center at 6401 W. Main St., which once featured the Mad Pricer grocery store and a $20 Shoe Outlet, is so “deteriorated” that tax incentives are needed to get the project off the ground.
On Monday night, two Belleville aldermanic committees will be asked to recommend that the full City Council on July 18 authorize tax incentives to Hill, who said he’s close to announcing a new tenant who would take over the vacant grocery store that has been vandalized. The cost to purchase and renovate the site is estimated at $4 million, Hill said.
A draft redevelopment agreement calls for the establishment of an extra 1 percent sales tax on certain purchases in the shopping center and the money collected via this tax would be used to renovate the aging center. Shoppers currently pay an 8.1 percent sales tax.
Also, the proposed agreement calls for the city to give Hill $275,000 in a tax increment financing grant.
These two incentives would be capped at $2.49 million, according to the agreement.
You can’t afford to make all the improvements without that assistance.
Developer Adam Hill says of the proposed tax incentives
“You can’t afford to make all the improvements without that assistance,” Hill said. “On this particular project, they’re absolutely necessary. We’ve got a deteriorated building that needs a tremendous amount of work. Coupled with that is we’ve got a depressed rental market, certainly on the center itself with the existing leases, and the market rate leases would not be enough to offset the costs of repositioning of this property.”
Mayor Mark Eckert said he supports Hill’s plan because it could help spur other development in the area.
“When Adam came to my office, I shared very quickly with a handful of people that I think this is our best opportunity that I’ve seen in the 11 years that I’ve been mayor a possibility to turn that shopping center around,” Eckert said.
“We know it’s going to help the west Belleville corridor,” he said. “We’re going to start to see that domino effect. This is just what the west end residents have been telling me they’ve been wanting since I became mayor.”
Eckert noted that a former bank next to the Market Place Shopping Center may be knocked down to make way for a new building. The City Council on July 18 will consider a plan that calls for the bank building to be demolished and replaced with a Fresenius Dialysis Center at 6525 W. Main St.
The Market Place Shopping Center currently has a Family Dollar, a Subway restaurant, Marco’s on Main restaurant and Shenanigan’s restaurant and sports bar.
Hill said these businesses would be able to stay open during the renovation.
We know it’s going to help the west Belleville corridor. We’re going to start to see that domino effect. This is just what the west end residents have been telling me they’ve been wanting since I became mayor.
Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert
The extra sales tax is allowed in a special business district and the city is in the process of establishing this type of district for the center. A public hearing on the proposed district is set for 7 p.m. Monday, July 18 during the next City Council meeting, which will be at Lindenwood University-Belleville at 2600 W. Main St. because City Hill is under renovation.
The draft redevelopment agreement between Hill and the city will be considered by a joint meeting of the Finance Committee and the Economic Development and Annexation Committee at 7 p.m. Monday at the Belleville Fire House #4 at 1125 S. Illinois St. If these panels OK the agreement, the City Council would vote on it on July 18.
Hill said if the city approves his plan this month, work on the site could begin as soon as next month.
The first sign of improvement shoppers would see is a new façade for the shopping center, Hill said.
Other renovations would include a new outdoor seating area at Shenanigan’s, a wireless security camera system, consolidation of multiple signs into one prominent sign and resurfacing the parking lot.
Long-range plans call for a possible traffic light at the intersection of 65th Street and West Main Street and a new roof.
Thieves have ripped off valuable metals from the electrical and air conditioning systems from the vacant building. Hill valued all the damages at over $500,000.
Hill, who once served as the economic development director for Mascoutah and now runs his own company called Sonoma Capital, believes Belleville residents will be excited about the “cool” project he envisions on West Main Street. He said he’s received numerous calls from people inquiring about development possibilities for nearby properties.
“When you start to do something like this, people start to have a whole lot of market confidence and it drives additional investment.”