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City Council alters redevelopment agreement with Quincy Mall

3 years, 3 months ago by Jamie Busen, QuincyJournal.com and WTAD News

Cullinan will spend a little less than $2 million to demolish and build out four spaces in the mall and another $2.6 million to remodel the space next to Jo-Ann Fabrics

The Quincy City Council Monday night voted to adopt a resolution that changes the city's redevelopment agreement with Cullinan Properties.

In 2006, the City and the new mall owners entered into a 23-year agreement that outlined Cullinan would invest $13 million to build 103,000 square feet of new lease property. In return, Quincy agreed to share one-half of the 1 percent of the local portion of the state sales tax generated by the new areas, capped at $6 million. To date, Cullinan has invested about $7.2 million in new stores.

The new agreement adopted Monday night now includes more areas. It encompasses five storefronts labeled "chronically vacant" as well as the three anchors - J.C. Penney, Bergner's and Sears. Improvements will be made to all of these spaces.

Council members and officials talked for about a half-hour on the subject before the vote. LexZe Mann (R-1) was absent, and Steve Duesterhaus (D-2) was the lone "no" vote.

"I actually supported this in 2006 despite my misgivings, but they are too strong to overcome" this time, he said. "I will not support this. We stretch the definition of public improvement to accomplish this deal and I can't support it."

Paul Havermale (R-3) asked to hear from City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer on what help or incentives are available to businesses in the City. Bevelheimer outlined the City's Enterprise Zone and TIF District proposals, and talked about Quincy's three loan programs. Some of these incentives, however, are targeted at blighted areas. He also talked about a comparable deal the City has with the developers of Prairie Trail Shopping Center, where they too receive a portion of the local tax.

Duesterhaus said a bond for that complex paid for public improvements.

"And in the case of the mall, we are talking about mostly private improvements?" he said to Bevelheimer, who responded "yes."

Bevelheimer said the "sales volume at the mall is $50 million-plus ... the sheer size is what I look at."

Cullinan has told officials they are struggling to recruit national and regional retailers and the mall needs improvements in order to stay competitive. If an anchor store leaves the mall, numerous stores would be allowed to get out of their leases and follow suit.

Terri Heinecke (R-7) asked Bevelheimer if local contractors would get to do the improvement work. He said it's been his experience with Cullinan that the jobs would be from here.

Mike Farha (R-4) said Cullinan has made good efforts in trying to revitalize the mall.

"They've brought a whole different type of entity ... their goal is to attract people we lose in this retail economy to other areas," he said.

Great River Economic Development President Jim Mentesti spoke for about 15 minutes, stressing the importance of attracting regional shoppers. He said within a 25-mile radius of Quincy, there are 115,000 people. Within 75 miles, it jumps to nearly 700,000.

Havermale asked what he should tell the business owners who can't get the incentives Cullinan is receiving.

Mentesti echoed Bevelheimer about the City's numerous programs. He said if a business is on Broadway, and in front of the mall, 23,000 cars or more pass by daily.

"Their incentive is to be located where the traffic counts are extraordinarily high. Their incentives are that they are connected to an interstate highway system. Their incentives are they are near the flagships. If we continue to (offer incentives) to every single retailer on the east side of 12th Street ... eventually we are going to have to start telling people no. So we think it's fair to say no in the first place and people can take advantage of what is already in place."

Bevelheimer has called the Quincy Mall a huge economic driving force. Bevelheimer, Mentesti and Mayor John Spring said they've had conversations with many businesses and not been able to offer any monetary incentives.

In other action the Council approved a request from the Chief of Police and Police Aldermanic Committee to buy two 2011 Chevrolet Caprices from Shottenkirk Chevrolet of Quincy for $52,398.

The Council went into executive session for a bit to "discuss existing airport hangar ground lease, potential hangar acquisition and potential hangar lease." No action was taken after the meeting, and City officials have declined to comment on the issue.


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