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Brewery returns to council with amended request

DeKALB ­– A Chicago-based brewer is returning for another round of discussions with the City Council about putting a brewery in the former House Cafe building downtown, and has amended its tax increment financing request, but not below 30% as the council advised.

According to city documents, the council will hear a second consideration by developers hoping to bring Alulu Brewery & Pub to 263 E. Lincoln Highway for a brewery and musical venue. During a July 8 meeting, the council expressed strong support of the downtown project, but said it would prefer if the developers kept their TIF request below 30% of the toal cost. Developers initially asked for a $770,000 TIF incentive agreement.

When a TIF district is formed, a fund is created by the municipality. Tax revenue from land-value increases on properties caused by development within a TIF that otherwise would have gone to school districts, county government or other local taxing bodies instead goes to the TIF fund. That money is then used to pay for incentives and infrastructure upgrades to attract businesses to a blighted area.

Documents show the developers have amended their plans by eliminating the rooftop dining and entertainment area they had proposed in the initial designs. That brought the overall project costs down from $1.8 million to $1.6 million but increased the percentage of TIF-eligible project costs from 42% to 45%.

Other recent projects have received funding from city TIF coffers. The Egyptian Theatre’s expansion and air conditioning project received $2.5 million, or 62.5% of its overall $4.5 million cost. Pappas Development was awarded $3 million in its preliminary TIF incentive agreement, 22% of the overall project costs for the Mooney Project redevelopment, expected to total $13.8 million.

City staff said the return on investment for the brewery would generate about $59,000 in property taxes a year, and would generate $592,000 in sales tax revenue over a 20-year period.

Other business

The council will consider allowing the sale of beer and wine in convenience stores and food and fuel establishments, according to city documents.

DeKalb is “one of the last holdouts in our central county market area,” according to documents, citing Sycamore, Cortland, Genoa, and Malta as municipalities that allow such sales.

Commercial brokers have recently inquired about vacant gas station sites in DeKalb, including the city-owned property at 1101 N. First St.

The council is not scheduled to vote on either item Monday during its regular meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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