WIUM Local
9:15 am
Fri March 12, 2010

Macomb Halts Quest for McDonough County ERZ

Macomb, IL – Plans to create an Economic Recovery Zone (ERZ) in McDonough County have stalled. An ERZ provides approved development projects within the zone a chance for federally subsidized bonds.

Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson says the project the city had in mind is not eligible to receive the funds, so the initiative is being scrapped for now.

A developer wants to turn the Lamoine Hotel in downtown Macomb into condominiums, apartments and retail space. But under the requirements for an Economic Recovery Zone, residential projects must be for sale only. That means prospective tenants could not rent the units, which is a prospect Torreson says the city is not interested in at this time.

Torreson says there could be future development projects in the city that would benefit from an Economic Recovery Zone, and it's a fairly easy designation to give. But he says its implementation still costs money. Public hearings, and notice of said public hearings, would be required.

Torreson says any future development projects would choose Macomb for reasons other than the fact that McDonough County is an ERZ.

"You have to have a prospect there who sees it to their advantage to use these bonds," says Torreson. "Just creating the zone I don't think would do anything for anybody."

Torreson says the federally subsidized bonds were a fairly small portion of the project's proposed financing to begin with. He says bond issues, TIF funds, economic zone funds, and national historic site tax credits will be explored.

At this time, there's no set timetable for when the Lamoine Hotel will be fully rehabbed.