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Lamoine Hotel Rehab a “Complex” Project

Oct 21, 2014

A developer is still trying to secure all the funding needed to convert the old Lamoine Hotel building in downtown Macomb into assisted living apartments.

“This is a very complex project where there are a lot of funding sources that have to come together,” said City Administrator Dean Torreson.

The Lamoine Hotel building looks unchanged from the street, but it has a new roof and interior renovations have started.
Credit Rich Egger

He said developer Chris Trotter is working with an attorney and a financial expert.

Among other things, Trotter hopes to obtain historic district tax credits.  Torreson said that’s a complicated and time consuming process.

“You have to apply through the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. You have to meet a lot of criteria to make sure those things come through,” Torreson said.

Torreson said in the meantime, Trotter has stabilized the Lamoine by putting a new roof on it. He’s also started work to convert the building by removing the interior walls from the top four floors.

“I’m convinced that he’s on the right track,” said Torreson.

Possible Request for More TIF Money

Torreson said Trotter might also seek more money through the city’s Tax Increment Finance District.

“That’s the reason for TIF.  It’s not to make public improvements. It’s to partner with private developers to fill financial gaps and make a project work,” Torreson said.

He said under TIF, the city is basically borrowing against future taxes that will be paid once the building is improved. But he said the improvements won’t happen and those extra taxes won’t be collected if the city doesn’t help fill the financial gaps.

“It’s the ‘But for’ clause. But for the use of TIF, this project will not happen. Take my word for that,” Torreson said.

He emphasized TIF money does not come from the city’s budget.  It comes from the increased assessed value of property and improvements within the district.

Torreson said Trotter has already received $200,000 in TIF money for the project.