O'Fallon Progress

Developer plans $6.6M project on U.S. 50

A business district plan for the old O’Fallon Lumber and Material Company grounds on West U.S. 50 at Cambridge Boulevard, which includes two small commercial strip centers and a standalone drive-thru restaurant on three acres, is now making its way through city channels.

TO-JB LLC is in the process of redeveloping this property, located at 531 W. Highway 50, where deteriorating, vacant buildings are overgrown with weeds and brush, into a multi-tenant commercial development.

A planned-use application has been submitted. The three buildings would total 16,600 square feet of retail space and the project could cost $6.6 million overall.

The developer is seeking creation of a business district, which will allow collection up to an additional 1 % sales tax within the development. This is not a sales tax rebate but rather an additional tax on retail goods above and beyond what is currently collected in the city.

Preliminary estimates indicate the site could produce $60,000 to $70,000 worth of sales tax revenue annually to the city.

The O’Fallon City Council is expected to approve Dec. 2 as the public hearing date at its Nov. 4 meeting after moving it forward Monday. Illinois law states that prior to creating a business district, an ordinance must first be passed setting the public hearing date.

Community Development Director Ted Shekell said the Planning Commission will review the proposal Nov. 12 and also conduct a public hearing.

The project could be approved Dec. 16 — and that includes the planned use zoning, creation of the 1 percent business district and approval of the redevelopment agreement for the business district. Not all the details are ready for release, Shekell said.

Hi-Pointe Drive-In of St. Louis is interested in expanding to Illinois but has not released details yet.

The drive-in specializes in burgers. Besides its original Hi-Pointe neighborhood spot, the restaurant added a downtown St. Louis location earlier this year. It is one of the restaurants owned by chef Mike Johnson, who started Sugarfire Smokehouse. Sugarfire expanded to O’Fallon in spring 2018 for its first site in the metro-east.

Jackie Roach, who is the wife of Alderman Todd Roach and the daughter-in-law of Mayor Herb Roach, is a 10 percent, non-voting member of the restaurant development group. Because of that, Todd Roach recused himself from the vote on establishing the public hearing and left the dais, saying he would not comment nor participate in any discussion.

Mayor Roach asked that Alderman Jerry Albrecht be appointed mayor pro tem and conduct the vote, which he did.

“We want to be transparent. There is no special treatment. We do not want anyone thinking there is. We want to be completely open about this,” the mayor said.

Todd Roach also recused himself at the earlier Community Development Committee meeting, leaving after he made a statement.

At the Oct. 21 council meeting, aldermen approved the public hearing date 12-0 on first reading, with Alderman Nathan Parchman absent and Roach abstaining.

After the meeting, Jackie Roach said the restaurant group would not announce before they followed the procedures to get the plan in place.

In other action, the council approved increasing the number of video gaming terminals to a maximum of six at licensed establishments.

They authorized the mayor to execute quit claim deeds for 117 Main St. and 217 W. First St. in two resolutions passed after an executive session.

A Town Hall Meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at City Hall.

The mayor will have Saturday hours from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 26.