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Microbrewery clears development hurdle

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Springfield businessman Jeff Schrag will receive a 25-year tax abatement on the property he wants to develop into a microbrewery.

Schrag’s tax abatement agreement was approved unanimously at Springfield City Council’s Nov. 1 meeting. The city will give Schrag’s Ozark Mountain Redevelopment Corp. a 25-year abatement of property taxes on roughly four center city acres near West Walnut Street and South Grant Avenue. Schrag plans to build a $1.76 million microbrewery at 727 W. Walnut St., the site of the former Interstate Bakeries Corp./Butternut Bread bakery.

The brewery, which is expected to employ 20 full-time workers, will be primarily a wholesale facility, though a small tasting room is under consideration, City Manager Greg Burris said during an Oct. 26 public hearing.

For the first 10 years of the development, Ozark Mountain Redevelopment Corp. will receive 100 percent abatement on real property taxes and any improvements to the property. During the next 15 years, the developer receives a 50 percent tax abatement.

According to senior planner Matt Schaefer, the proposal satisfied the city’s “but for” test, which asks the developer to demonstrate that a project would not happen “but for” receipt of the tax abatement.

According to previous Springfield Business Journal coverage, Schrag’s Ozark Mountain Brewery LLC received a $1.5 million U.S. Small Business Administration loan through Liberty Bank in March.

Development agreement for St. John’s
Council held a public hearing on a development agreement between Sisters of Mercy Health System and the city, which brings St. John’s another step closer to a proposed orthopedic hospital on the southwest corner of Highway 65 and Evans Road.

The development agreement, which comes up for a vote at council’s Nov. 15 meeting, formalizes a preliminary term sheet approved Oct. 26, said Mary Lilly Smith, economic development director for the city.

“It is essentially the same as the term sheet. It just has a lot more of the language that the lawyers like to put in regarding indemnification and liability, and really clarifies how some of the deal flow will occur,” she said.

St. John’s Health System is in the process of acquiring 40 acres to build a 48-bed, 149,000-square-foot orthopedic hospital and is close to reaching a final purchase agreement, said spokeswoman Cora Scott.

St. John’s expects to begin the two-year, $104 million construction project in April. Once completed, the hospital would employ about 150 people.

John Wanamaker, managing partner at BKD LLP, speaking as a private citizen, said he’s in favor of the project.

“It’s important that we recognize the aging demographics of our community, baby boomers getting older, and just the need to support further health care in our community,” he said. “I believe we need to do all we can to help support and encourage the health care providers in our region when they must expand to meet a growing need.”

COPS grant
On Nov. 15, council members will vote on a bill, which would allow the Springfield Police Department to accept a $2.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services program. The grant would pay for the salaries of 15 new police officers during the next three years, with the city assuming the costs beginning fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, 2013.[[In-content Ad]]

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