Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Updates on the Millennium Development

While we're still waiting for details on the major anchors for the new Millennium Development, Marion officials continue to work on getting the city ready for the destination development.

City Administrator Gail West recently told Johnston City community leaders that none of the retail tenants are businesses that have any store currently within 70 miles of the city. While that is a requirement for the major anchors and suggested for the secondary, it's the first word that it would the case for "all" the stores.

The "Magic City of Egypt" has lost some of its luster over the decades and half of its population since the 1920s. City leaders are hoping recent approval of Home Rule and a TIF (tax increment financing) district will help turn the community around. They see the growth on the north side of Marion eventually spurring activity at the next interstate exit on their west side.

Last week the Marion City Council discussed agreements with IDOT over plans to for the new "single-point" interchange redo for Exit 54 on Interstate 57 at Illinois Route 13, as well as the expansion of the Morgan Ave overpass into a full interchange as well.

The city will kick in around $7 million for the 57/13 interchange and $1 million on the Morgan Avenue work. It would have to be reimbursed to the state over 15 years with the developer expected to share part the costs.

In a separate story, Mayor Robert Butler told the Southern that the city would be committing 2.5 percent of the city sales tax to the project for infrastructure improvements that would presumably include the road projects. Not mentioned, but again assumed, is that the sales tax would be the portion that is generated from within the STAR bonds district.


Bird said...

Thank you for this blog. Since there isn't a lot of obviously provided information on this subject, it is of interest.

Do you think that they are delaying the announcement of an anchor store for the STAR bonds project until just before the elections or do you believe that there have been difficulties attracting merchants? Have you heard mention of any likely tenants?

It seems that the local newspapers have done an exceptionally poor job covering this development.

Jon Musgrave said...

I don't think the election has anything to do with it, particularly since today is the election.

My educated guess is that it has more to do with the entertainment user that has to be an anchor. Remember, the Great Wolf Lodge, or whatever they get for an indoor water park, is a "destination hotel" not the "entertainment user."

They lowered the standards for the entertainment user when the moved the project to Marion, but I do know for a fact that they were still shooting for their original large target.

If they can get that, it's worth the delay.

The national economy and the uncertain conditions are not helping, but from what I've heard I don't think the retailers are the problem.