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Local News

Joliet council considers tax incentives in St. Joe's area, lease for brew pub

JOLIET – The City Council could vote next week on a proposal to pursue tax incentives for redevelopment of the area around Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

The incentive study, along with a proposed lease agreement for a brew pub at Union Station, is set to be reviewed Thursday by the council’s Economic Development Committee.

The city is considering a tax increment financing district to encourage redevelopment of the area south and west of Presence Saint Joseph. A TIF district is an area in which assessed property values are frozen and the difference in tax revenue generated between the frozen tax value and current value goes into a fund to be used for improvements to properties within the district.

The TIF would run west of Springfield Avenue to the Joliet Junction Trail, taking in all the property that lines Republic and Springfield avenues. The northern border would be Glenwood Avenue, and the southern boundary would be Jefferson Street. It would also include commercial property along Jefferson Street two blocks east of Springfield. The hospital itself would not be included in the district.

Economic Development Director Steve Jones said the TIF proposal would likely go to the full City Council for a vote Tuesday if it gets a recommendation from the committee.

Approval would be a first step to eventually creating the TIF. The council would consider hiring the firm S. B. Friedman to do a feasibility study to determine that the property along the west side of Republic Avenue qualifies for the incentive.

Jones said S. B. Friedman in 2014 did a TIF study but did not include that side of Republic Avenue.

“The area closest to the hospital was deemed to be eligible,” he said.

The city in 2014 did not move forward with the creation of a TIF. Now that the city is considering one, Jones is recommending it be expanded to both sides of Republic Avenue.

Brew pub

Jones said a lease agreement for a brew pub could also go to the full council Tuesday if it is recommended in committee.

A group called Golden Spike LLC would get an initial five-year lease for rent of $84,000 a year for up to 12,700 square feet of Union Station for the brew pub. The lease includes options to extend the agreement for an additional 10 years at escalating rent that eventually would rise to $102,000 a year.

Golden Spike would get credits up to $300,000 for the costs of improvements it needs to make at Union Station for the brew pub, meaning it could operate without paying rent for as long as the first three-and-a-half years depending on its costs for renovation.

The proposed developers have not been identified while the city has negotiated lease terms. But Jones said they will be at the meeting to make a presentation to the committee.

The Economic Development Committee meets at 5 p.m. in the Planning Conference Room on the first floor of City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson St.

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