The Highland City Council has approved zoning changes and business incentives that will bring two new restaurants to town.
On March 19, the council approved a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement with the property owner, a special use permit for the contractor, and a redevelopment with agreement with the franchise holder of what will be a new Jimmy John's restaurant in Northtown.
Jimmy John's, a sandwich chain specializing in delivery, was founded in Charleston, Illinois by Jimmy John Liautaud in 1983 and is headquartered in Champaign, Illinois.
"I think it will be a good fit here," said Mark Kidd of Kidd's Restaurants Inc., the franchise holder for the Highland location. "We will offer delivery. So it will be another delivery option here in town."
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In the metro-east, the franchise currently has locations in Alton, Granite City, Collinsville, Glen Carbon, Edwardsville, Wood River, Fairview Heights, Belleville and O'Fallon.
Kidd's Restaurants has 11 Jimmy John's — Alton, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Collinsville (below the bluff), O'Fallon, two in Belleville (downtown and near SWIC), Mount Vernon, Marion, and two in Paducah, Kentucky.
In Highland, the restaurant is planned on what is now a vacant lot, located at 2774 Illinois 143, between the buildings that house Blake Schrumpf State Farm and Sunrise Care Givers to the north and Silver Lake Group to the south.
Gayle Frey, doing business as Sunset Properties, plans to construct a 1,500 square foot building for the new restaurant. The City Council approved an agreement to reimburse Frey 20 percent of the total cost of the project over a period of 10 years, not to exceed $116,378. The money will come from TIF funding. The city's Industrial Development Commission voted on March 7 to approve the project.
The council also voted in favor of an agreement with Kidd's Restaurants. The agreement will rebate a portion of city sales taxes derived from the new business back to the proprietors. The operators will get back 3/4 of the city's 1 percent sales tax. The agreement is for a period of 10 years, or $47,400, whichever comes first. Such agreements have been standard for the city in recent years with new businesses. The Industrial Development Commission also signed off on the agreement.
City Councilman Aaron Schwarz questioned if the agreement was necessary to lure the business to Highland.
City Attorney Mike McGinley said it was.
"Attracting this franchise to this town, without a doubt," McGinley said. "I've seen the numbers."
The council also approved rezoning of the property from single-family residential to highway business district. Although the area is commercial, this particular parcel was never rezoned after in was originally annexed into the city many years ago. All property brought into the city is automatically zoned for single-family residential at the time of annexation.
The council also granted a special use permit so that the restaurant could have a drive-thru.
"The restaurant requires a drive up to comply with Jimmy John's franchise requirements," Plocher Construction, the contractor on the project, wrote in its application seeking the special use permit.
Mark Kidd said his plans are to have the restaurant open toward the end of the year.
In a move meant to bring another dining establishment to town, the council approved also approved a TIF agreement with Tut Properties.
Surjit "Sunny" Tut is the owner of Highland Liquor & Food Mart and Highland Laundromat at 201 Washington St.
Tut told the city last year he originally wanted to open a restaurant out of his existing business. But he decided it would not provide enough space, so instead, he purchased a property at 213 Walnut St. There used to be a dilapidated home and garage on the property. However, Tut tore it down in order to construct a building for his new enterprise.
Tut plans to construct a 2,000 square foot building and open a restaurant and bar. He also plans to have video gaming. The restaurant will be a Krispy Krunchy Chicken, a convenience-store based franchise established in 1989.
The council approved a TIF agreement with Tut, same as to the one with Frey, reimbursing him 20 percent of the total project cost over a 10-year period. For Tut, that amount is not to exceed $62,500.
All of the council's votes were unanimous.