Potential snag may block McDonald's restaurant in St. John

2013-07-27T18:37:00Z 2013-07-27T23:30:14Z Potential snag may block McDonald's restaurant in St. JohnLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 27, 2013 6:37 pm  • 

ST. JOHN | The long-anticipated new McDonald’s restaurant along U.S. 41 has hit a potential snag.

McDonald’s Corp. of Oak Brook, Ill., has set a drop-dead date of March 14, 2014, to be given clear title and use of land owned by John Eenigenburg at 97th Lane and U.S. 41 or the deal to build in St. John is off.

“There is a half of 1 percent chance of McDonald’s going on (with the project if that deadline isn’t met). That date is in stone,”  Maurice King said at last week's St. John Redevelopment Commission. King is an area real estate agent representing McDonald’s Corp.

However, a representative of Eenigenburg told the commissioners that the business owner wants to scrap his original building plans and submit a new site plan to the St. John Plan Commission on Aug. 7.

Donald A. Bates, CPA, come before the Redevelopment Commission to find out if funds from the town’s tax increment financing district were still available to finance demolishing Eeningenburg Quality Water. Bates is newly involved with the project that’s been in the works since August 2012.

The Redevelopment Commission, which includes the five St. John Town Council members, denied the request for TIF financing to demolish the building because Eenigenburg had repeatedly refused that funding in all previous meetings.

However, the commissioners, Town Manager Steve Kil and Town Attorney David Austgen cautioned that any change in Eenigenburg’s original site plan would delay the entire project and potentially be an economic development blow to the town.

“In February, I was on the record wanting this demolition to be done now,” Kil said. “Mr. Eenigenburg will need another variance from the BZA (if he changes his building plans now). He won’t walk out of the Plan Commission with an approval until at least October.”

Without that approval, Eenigenburg won’t surrender the land needed to build the new McDonald’s, the town manager said.

“He needs to get moving immediately. Come in tomorrow and get the demolition permit and then the building permit” based on the original approved building drawings, Kil said to Bates.

In other business, the Redevelopment Commission voted to affirm the town of St. John doesn’t want to capture the business property tax levy from the TIF district this year.

That means that the money from those taxes will go to the other taxing entities including the Lake Central School Corp., the St. John Public Library and Lake County.

“We don’t have a project. We don’t have debt,” Kil told the commissioners.

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