Hotel developers say they won't build new facility in Belleville -

Hotel developers say they won't build new facility in Belleville without help from taxpayers

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By Adam McDonald By Adam McDonald

BELLEVILLE (KMOV) – A multi-million dollar hotel and restaurant complex could be coming to the city of Belleville but not without some help from taxpayers.

Keller Enterprises out of Effingham is hoping to build a $50 million dollar development including a Hyatt Place hotel, convention center and several upscale restaurants including a Hofbrauhaus brewpub and eatery. 

The property is along Route 15 next to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Snows. 

The City of Belleville has been working on the project for more than a year but the developer says they will not build without incentives from the city. 

According to Eric Schauster, the Economic Development Specialist for the city, the deal with Keller Enterprises will include the creation of a tax increment finance (TIF) district, a business district and an expansion of the city’s enterprise zone. 

In total it will mean around $6 million will go back to the developer. That’s a problem for Alderman Joseph Hayden. 

“Why do we have to give tax payer dollars to develop it? The constituents I talk to do not like the tax increment financing, they have concerns about them, they’re confused about them, they don’t trust them,” said Alderman Hayden. 

But Alderman Ken Kinsella who sits on the Economic Development board says this project will bring in big money. 

“When this gets up and running the city should have $500,000 a year in sales tax revenue, that’s our cut,” explained Alderman Kinsella.

Part of the deal going through city council would raise sales tax at the proposed site by one percent.

“The higher sales tax can draw away customers,” said Hayden. 

But Kinsella says this will be a major destination for the City of Belleville, bringing in thousands of people a year. Plus he said, the incentives from the city depend on the development’s success. 

“I like to call this kind of arrangement a rebate, in order for them to get any money from us they have to make money,” Kinsella explained. 

The final deal will go before the City Council’s Economic Development and Finance Committee Monday night and if approved will then go before the full board in two weeks.

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