SouthPark agreement will wait a week

Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2014, 8:57 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Dawn Neuses,
MOLINE — It will be one more week before a development agreement for SouthPark Mall will be considered by the Moline City Council after a move to take a vote early failed.

Mall owner Macerich Co. has proposed a redevelopment project that includes demolishing 250,000 square feet, renovating the interior, improving the parking lot and landscaping and creating a new entrance on John Deere Road.

Moline has proposed rebating Macerich 100 percent of all new tax increment generated from the property for 23 years. To get any rebate, Macerich must first increase the assessed value of the property by making the proposed improvements.

Macerich has not disclosed how much the planned redevelopment will cost. Moline city staff have said the amount of the potential rebate is unknown because any new development on mall property also would increase its assessed value.

A motion Tuesday night to consider the development agreement a week early was defeated after Alds. Sean Liddell, 7th Ward, and Stephanie Acri, At-Large — voted against doing so.

Ald. Lori Turner, 5th Ward, was absent; and early consideration needed support from six of the eight aldermen.

Ald. Liddell said having to do two readings allows residents to respond to a proposal and state concerns before a vote is taken.

He also said he believes the Macerich agreement is an exception to a cap the city sets on incentives, usually no more than 15 percent of project costs. Ald. Liddell said when he asked that the cap be added to the agreement, he was told it did not apply in this case and Macerich would never hit the 15 percent so there was no point.

"If we truly have no chance of hitting the 15 percent, why is there such a strong push back against its inclusion?" Ald. Liddell asked. "In this case, we don't even have any financial analysis or pro formas as to what we are actually agreeing to. All we have are fancy pictures."

"How much is it going to cost to build the new entrance on John Deere Road? How much is Macerich going to invest in this project, and how much are they going to get back?" he added. "These are basic questions that nobody seems to know the answer to.

"In my opinion, this is as close to a blank check as I have seen in my time here," he said.

During a recent interview, city administrator Lew Steinbrecher said the 15 percent cap on incentives is for projects where Moline has made an investment in public improvements. Because Macerich is making all of the investment in the new entrance and redevelopment of the mall, the city has no up-front costs, he said.

After Tuesday's meeting, Ald. Acri said there was no compelling reason to circumvent the council's usual process.

In other business Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously to buy 1217-1221 5th Ave. from James Miller for $115,000. According to council documents, the property is blighted and has structural issues.

The property is a block away from the proposed Amtrak station and adjacent to property under consideration for a new parking ramp.


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.

(More History)