A chance to renew one of Belleville’s most visible buildings was likely handed a minimum one-year delay when the Illinois Housing Development Authority rejected the bid for $8 million in tax credits and a $1 million loan.
The Southwestern Illinois Development Authority was seeking the credits and loan for a $12 million redevelopment of the old Meredith Memorial Home, which once was the Hotel Belleville. Their application received a mandatory failing grade, so was not one of the 20 out of 58 applications awarded the tax credit and loan packages.
Parking has been an issue for the building from the start. Parking was what cost the project the tax credits — the fact that so big a building had so few parking spaces available.
A solution remains elusive but necessary. Even if the housing goes to active seniors who want to walk, use mass transit or ride bikes, dozens of potential residents will need a place for their cars.
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They can fix that issue, and it sounds like chances improve when revamped project applications return.
It is frustrating to see our tax dollars go into the system and then fail to return. It is even more frustrating to see government holding so tightly onto money they have yet to collect.
The state was handing out federal tax credits. That means the feds were giving up future revenue, sort of like handing out really valuable coupons.
Banks are willing to buy those coupons to lower their tax liability, and that is the money developers use to rehab and renovate and give lower-income seniors a place to live.
No credit for seniors or a rehab in the heart of town, at least not until you pay for parking.