Quincy’s bet on Tanninger is a sound one

tanninger

Jay Krottinger and Ryan Tanner of Tanninger Companies. Photo courtesy of The Patio.

With all of the discussion about tax dollars assisting private development, here’s a bulletin:

It’s been going on here for decades.

Now, not all of it has been directly for a specific property, as is being proposed for the Tanninger Companies’ quest to turn the Illinois State Bank building into a boutique hotel, but millions have been spent to entice companies to come here.

Public funding was used to help develop the infrastructure that allowed Home Depot, Menard’s and Sam’s Club to all open. It was used to extend water and sewer lines under I-172 in order to develop Prairie Crossing.

The city is, of course, better off with all of those entities being here.

Tanninger has already received $3 million in state tax credits to go toward the project, which is now looking at a $15 million price tag. The company has already shown a commitment to Quincy in the form of the rehabilitation of The Patio restaurant and the Elkton Hotel into apartments all at the corner of 4th and Jersey as well as the development across Jersey of The Armory, a reception and meeting venue co-owned with Ryan and Meegan Fischer.

The price tag for those: $4.5 million.

I’ll do the math for you, that’s nearly $20 million invested into Quincy in a four year period. And the rebooting of the Patio coincided with COVID, which killed thousands of restaurants across the country.

And that doesn’t count many philanthropic endeavors that Ryan Tanner and his partner Jay Krottinger have contributed during that span.

Tanner has put a great deal of blood, sweat and money into his hometown. Yes, Jersey Street was repaired as part of it, but before the company didn’t receive any direct public funding for the previous projects.

And the Illinois State Bank building renovation is massive.

Now the owners and operators of the other hotels in town have balked at Tanninger’s request for a rebate on hotel/motel fees for 10 years. Many of them, Town and Country, The Atrium, Eagles Nest and AmericInn have done or are in the process of their own remodels and/or rehabs without such assistance.

No, they didn’t ask for the city’s help for their respective renovations, but they worry about this setting a precedent.

You don’t think that once the Welcome Inn meets the wrecking ball the new owners (when that happens) won’t ask for the same thing if Tanninger receives this type of assistance? Or even make it a stipulation before they sign the papers to close the sale?

The food and beverage tax fund (which seems to have a pretty broad definition for its use) might be a another avenue to consider when providing the extra money needed on such projects, but an 11-1 vote Monday showed the aldermen were okay with this new way to use the Hotel/Motel Tax. This is an opportunity to bring new Hotel/Motel Tax dollars to Quincy.

The city will reimburse Tanniger 50 percent of the portion of the annual property taxes generated by the hotel that would be directed to TIF East until Dec. 31, 2033. That figure would not exceed $750,000. The city also agrees to reimburse Tanniger 50 percent of the local hotel/motel sales tax generated by the hotel for a period of 10 years or until Tanniger has received $750,000, whichever occurs first. 

The reimbursement of both taxes would begin once the city issues a certificate of occupancy for the hotel.

As Alderman Greg Fletcher (R-1st Ward) said, this is what the TIF fund was created to do.

Quincy doesn’t have a boutique hotel and the price point for an overnight is expected to be a little higher than the average Quincy hotel. It isn’t going to directly compete with the hotels when they host scads of ball teams who come in for youth tournaments or to play against Quincy University, John Wood Community College or Culver-Stockton College.

The business class guests? Yes, especially those who would stay on behalf of Blessing Hospital, Quincy Medical Group or a downtown bank or other business.

Quincy City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer made the most compelling comment about the hotel project at the June 25 City Council meeting when he brought up the fate of the Newcomb Hotel, which was set afire by an arsonist just as the City had finally found someone who was serious about developing the property.

Most of us remember the old JC Penney building that stood where the Maine Center (and the MRN world headquarters) now stands. Fire took that one as well and, once the City paid to clear the block, Andy Nicholson and Kent Heimer built a retail/office hub 1994 that is nearly fully occupied.

Tanner had concerns about the vote going into the July 4 weekend, but as he worked the phones to secure support, he learned he had the backing. His original ask of $500,000 in TIF funding when the company purchased the building in 2021 only received one no vote. Aldermen seemed to understand that the cost of the project has drastically increased over the last three years.

“The Quincy City Council’s nearly unanimous vote in favor of this project mitigates such baseless claims and calls into question the motives of those who seek to tear others down while we try to lift others up,” Tanner told MRN’s David Adam after the vote.

“I’ll bet on the people of Quincy every time.”

And Quincy is doubling down on the Tanninger Companies.

J. Robert Gough is Publisher/General Manager of Muddy River News.

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