Geneva Aldermen OK $ 551Okay TIF Money for artisanal butcher store on the east facet

GENEVA – Aldermen on Monday recommended the approval of a draft redevelopment contract for $ 551,000 in tax increase funding for improvements to enable an artisanal butcher shop in the former Soukup Appliance Store on State Street.

The vote was 9-0, with the 4th District Alderman Jeanne McGowan abstaining. The move will be postponed to the city council meeting on December 21 for final approval.

Paul and Laurie Darrow from Geneva have a contract to purchase the property at 715 E. State St., a mixed-use masonry building built in 1950 and to which a cinder block warehouse was added in 1997. Soukup was closed in 2011.

Paul Darrow, who has lived on the east side of the city for nearly 20 years, said, "We are excited to offer you this opportunity."

“We love Geneva. It's a great place to work, live and play, ”said Paul Darrow. “We offer a wide range of products from the head to the story of a cow, pig or lamb. We process deer for hunters. "

They also own Country Village Meats in Sublette, which they acquired in 2018, officials said.

They updated and modernized this property, product line, and working conditions – and the Geneva property would also require a complete remodel – as the Darrows propose to create a 3,000 square foot store with prep, office and staff areas.

Paul Darrow said he had experience in the food industry and his wife had experience in sales and marketing.

Not only are they a point of sale for local farmers, they are also known for their customer service, he said.

"You come into the store and we talk exactly what you want," said Paul Darrow. “We bring out a piece of meat and cut it to exact specifications and cut and wrap it in front of you. We are characterized by a personal touch. "

The recipes used are decades old and are used by three previous family owners of Country Village Meats in Sublette, he said.

"We haven't changed a single recipe," said Paul Darrow.

Paul Darrow said people from all over Illinois come to Sublette and call ahead frequently to ask where is a good place to have lunch while they shop.

"We're going to create a real gem for the city," said Paul Darrow. "Not only is it good for our business, but we will attract people from all over the world."

Country Village Meats in Geneva has a range of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and seafood, a deli with lunchtime meats, cheeses, salads, smoked meats, bespoke sausages, marinated meats, specially processed beef quarters and pork halves from local farmers and complementary spices, spices and sauces.

The acquisition, expansion and equipment costs are almost $ 2.1 million.

The costs include electricity and water upgrades, asbestos removal, a new customer side door, new windows and building facades, improved fire protection and park and landscape upgrades.

In order to close the funding gap, the Darrows asked for assistance. The recommendation calls for a TIF grant of $ 551,402 and a donation of public property previously rented for parking at the location, said Economic Development Director Cathleen Tymoszenko.

The company would be a significant sales tax generator and would likely repay the TIF funding by year seven, Timozenko said.

A tax hike finance district is a development tool that diverts tax money for public improvements such as roads and sewers, as well as other legally permitted purposes.

Once established, a district's property value is frozen and all that is generated from the improvements is the tax increase. These funds are limited to specific expenditures including upgrading utilities, renovating facades and sites, and improving the safety of life and habitability of affordable rental housing units.

Tymoshenko said the proposal is in line with the city's goals for redevelopment on the east side, the master plan, strategic plan and housing for a changing region.

The TIF was founded in 2000 and is slated to expire in 2023, Timozenko said.

"For this reason the TIF was set up and the money was collected in the special allocation fund," said Tymoshenko. "It will strengthen the economic base through revitalization."

The new store is slated to open next spring. The investment would increase the property's balanced valuation on the tax rolls and generate more revenue for the city as a major utility user, Timozenko said.

“We don't invest in a company. We invest to make real estate the right place to invest, ”said Timozenko. “The city only has so many options, so many properties. You invest in the whole picture. "