Posted Feb 25, 2012
Hy-Vee Corp. will have to make one more trip to the Springfield City Council before the Iowa-based supermarket chain can begin conversion of the former Kmart building on MacArthur Boulevard, city officials say.
Plans are for both to happen this spring.
“We’ll be entering into negotiations with Hy-Vee for a developer’s agreement. We expect that to begin soon,” said city economic development director Mike Farmer.
Hy-Vee is expected to ask for assistance from a MacArthur Boulevard tax increment financing district that was unanimously approved by the council Tuesday. The district covers both sides of MacArthur from South Grand Avenue to Summit Avenue.
Farmer said negotiations will determine the amount of assistance sought by Hy-Vee and the type of work that is eligible. “There’ll obviously be some demolition on the site and some clearing and environmental costs. We’d probably cover a portion of that,” said Farmer.
Under TIF rules, increased revenue from property taxes can be used to reimburse developers for the cost of improvements. Hy-Vee plans to demolish the exterior of the former Kmart and use the steelwork as the skeleton of the grocery store.
The former Spillway Lanes bowling alley would be demolished to make room for a convenience store and gasoline station. A Title-Max payday loans building also would be demolished to allow for additional parking.
No money in TIF
The MacArthur TIF will not begin to generate money for redevelopment until 2011 property taxes are collected this year, said Ward 7 Ald. Joe McMenamin, who represents the area. “I expect something will be worked out,” said McMenamin. “It’s more difficult because there are no funds.”
The MacArthur TIF is the city’s eighth. Farmer said one possibility would be to sell bonds for the Hy-Vee construction and pay off the bonds as TIF revenues flow into the district. Both McMenamin and Farmer said they believe an agreement can be approved by the city council in time to meet Hy-Vee’s spring construction schedule. The company has indicated construction will take about a year.
The MacArthur Boulevard Action Committee — or MacBac, as the 16-member committee is known — is nearing completion of a marketing plan to build on projects such as the Kmart conversion, said committee chairman Micah Bartlett. “We’re putting together a brochure that would be targeted to potential business and real-estate developers,” said Bartlett.
The group, which was created by Mayor Mike Houston, meets monthly to work on implementation of a long-term development plan. Bartlett said the brochure highlighting potential development sites is in draft form, but should be ready soon to share with economic development officials. “We want to get this into as many hands as possible,” said Bartlett.
The committee also is trying to simplify zoning requirements along MacArthur Boulevard. A consultant’s report pointed out last year that there have been more than 60 zoning variances along the boulevard since 1956. MacArthur cuts through four government jurisdictions — the city of Springfield, village of Jerome, Capital Township and rural Sangamon County. “We’re working with the zoning department to make those changes, obviously with a future ordinance,” said Bartlett. “Some of these things we can do in the near future. Others are going to take years.”