ST. JOHN | The town has entered into a financial partnership with a local developer to bring a 10-acre commercial and residential development to the east side of U.S. 41.
At the same time, the development will improve a dangerous intersection on U.S. 41 at the traffic light to the entrance of Lake Central High School, officials said.
St. John Town Manager Steve Kil said the town is putting up $600,000 to buy property, install a frontage road in front of St. John Plaza, leading to the traffic light, and also reconfigure the light.
He said safer access for traffic entering and leaving St. John Plaza also benefits residents of the Golden Pond subdivision, which sits directly behind the shopping center.
The new commercial development will be built just south of Lake Central Plaza. It will have a similar strip mall characteristic, but will include an upscale restaurant, possible a steakhouse.
“Residents have been asking for more restaurants of this type in town,” Kil said. “Better yet, we solve a very serious traffic safety problem. We’ve had many accidents in this area of U.S. 41 over the years.”
Developer Dennis Meyers will also build 12 four-unit townhomes adjacent to the new commercial development, similar in style to Golden Pond, which is also a multifamily development. Meyers is pitching in $500,000 for road improvements and buying property from the town.
Kil noted that the town’s financial contribution comes from excess Tax Increment Financing District funds. Thus, the town is using cash on hand and is not issuing any new debt. No tax abatements are being issued as part of the project either.
On Thursday, the St. John Redevelopment Commission formalized an agreement with Meyers that spells out each party’s responsibilities with respect to the public-private partnership. Groundbreaking on the development is expected to begin shortly.