CHAMPAIGN – The city council gave final approval Tuesday night to a development agreement and plan for the M2 on Neil project, with five council members defending the millions of dollars in incentives the city has agreed to provide.
The $30 million building would be a nine-story mixed-use development with retail, office space and 50 condominiums. It would be located at the northwest corner of Neil and Church streets.
One Main Development LLC, which includes local developers Jon "Cody" Sokolski, Mike Royse and Mary Ann Royse, is developing the project.
Construction is expected to begin late this spring and to be completed in late 2008 or early 2009.
The city is providing a number of incentives, including $3.7 million in direct tax increment financing subsidies between 2008 and 2014; $1 million in the transfer of property, including two city parking lots being provided for free; and $850,000 in state and local sales tax abatements on construction materials.
The city also plans to build an $11 million, 500-space parking deck to serve M2 on Neil and other downtown users.
Council member Tom Bruno said the tax increment subsidies will come from property tax income generated by M2 on Neil itself. The city also should want to replace surface parking lots with tax-generating new buildings, he said, as those lots used to house buildings until they were demolished over 40 years ago.
Bruno also said cities must provide incentives to attract business.
"Just as people don't pay the full list price for a car, developers don't develop where they can't get some consideration in return for the benefit they bestow upon the community," he said.
Council member Ken Pirok sounded a similar note.
"We're getting a big development that will benefit the city in a lot of ways, and we're also getting a parking deck that we've needed for a long time," he said.
"I'm glad we have developers with vision," said Mayor Jerry Schweighart.
Also Tuesday, the council approved a new ordinance giving city police greater authority to shut down nuisance parties, and gave the mayor additional powers to deal with Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, which occurs this year on March 2.
The nuisance party proposal gives police officers clear authority to shut down a party that has become a public nuisance and the ability to cite the host or hosts if they have been warned within the past 12 months about allowing a nuisance party on the premises.
A minimum fine of $290 would be issued for a violation.
Police officers would be able to shut down a party without a warning, but would not be able to write a ticket unless the host was previously warned.
Unofficial St. Patrick's Day is a drinking holiday promoted by campus bars.
The council voted to give Schweighart the emergency authority to prohibit the sale of shots of alcohol, to prohibit the sale of kegs and to require campus bars to have people 21 or older checking identification at entrances.
Schweighart will be able to impose those restrictions just within the Campustown area.