Macomb aldermen voted in favor of spending $200,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District funds to help a developer acquire and repair the old Lamoine Hotel.
Trotter Contracting has agreed to buy the building for $150,000 from Gatehouse Media, which operates the McDonough County Voice and other downstate newspapers. Trotter plans to convert the building into assisted living apartments.
The city council support is not unanimous. At-large aldermen Dennis Moon and Don Wynn both voted against the plan.
“I’m just concerned about the taxpayers of Macomb committing $250,000 (sic) to it,” said Moon.
Moon said the council hasn’t even seen a business plan for the project.
Fifth Ward Alderman Clay Hinderliter favors the city’s investment.
“We are talking about one thing: helping [Trotter Contracting] purchase the building,” Hinderliter said.
“This is the first step in a long process that we’re going to be dealing with a long time.”
Hinderliter pointed out the urgency of renovating the building as soon as possible. He said the architects and engineers who have looked at the building say it “…cannot withstand one more winter without structural integrity being compromised.”
Hinderliter, First Ward Alderman Ryan Hansen, Second Ward Alderman Steve Wailand, Fourth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett, and At-Large Alderman Thomas Koch voted in favor the plan.
Third Ward Alderman Lou Gilbert abstained.
The agreement between the city and Trotter states the TIF money will be spent as follows: $100,000 toward the purchase, $50,000 to replace the roof, and $50,000 for asbestos abatement and initial cleanup of the interior.
The city could also devote more TIF money to complete the renovation and re-use of the building, and it’s also pledged to contribute $50,000 from its Façade Grant Program over a two-year period.
Trotter will pay $50,000 of the acquisition cost, $30,000 for the roof repair, $25,000 for the asbestos abatement and interior cleanup, and it will cover the entire $100,000 cost of the market study.
If Trotter decides to sell the Lamoine, it will need to obtain city approval.