Valmeyer seeks new business

Pictured is about half the area Valmeyer is looking to develop. The property is on either side of Knobloch Boulevard in the heart of the village. (James “Tal” Moss photo)

Valmeyer is attempting to use two types of incentives to attract new businesses to its village.

In December, the village and a group of investors that includes George Obernagel bought the land in downtown Valmeyer with the aim of developing it. 

Each party has half ownership of the property. The land was previously owned by a development group that bought the land years ago but failed to develop it.

“The town decided we wanted to aggressively try to get that area developed so we, along with George and his investment group, purchased it back,” Valmeyer Village Administrator Dennis Knobloch said. 

Obernagel said the private investors share that goal. 

“We’re there to help out the community, to promote the community and get the town developed,” he said. 

The area the village and investors purchased is in the center of the town on either side Knobloch Boulevard. It begins by Village Hall, extends west to the post office, and continues across the street west of State Bank of Waterloo. 

“We’ve invested, as far as the village goes, in buying that property for a purpose and it’s not to grow grass or create a park,” Valmeyer Mayor Howard Heavner said. 

The village is offering two incentives to attract new businesses to that area.

 It will waive tap-in fees for potential businesses or residents wanting to build. That means prospective developers will not pay to connect to the village’s water or sewer services.

Knobloch said that incentive has been active for a couple of years and applies to anywhere in town. 

The other incentive applies only to businesses that develop the downtown property. The village will offer tax incentives to those wanting to build on that land.

“We have the residential base. We just don’t have the commercial base and we don’t have the income from sales tax that communities like Waterloo and Columbia have,” Heavner noted. 

Knobloch said the particulars of these incentives depend on the businesses that want to develop there. 

“If it’s something that we feel is very advantageous to the town and is either going to create a lot of jobs, service opportunity for the village or revenue for the village in the way of real estate taxes, sales taxes or whatever, we would probably have more to offer than if it was a smaller business type operation,” Knobloch explained. 

Knobloch further outlined the types of incentives the village might offer.

“We as a village are able to offer an abatement of the real estate taxes that we would normally receive on a piece of property,” he said. “So, we may offer that. We may look at a rebate of sales taxes received for a certain amount of time if it’s a business that generates sales tax.”

The village may also offer a reduced sales price if the right business comes along, according to Knobloch. 

Those incentives have been active since the village purchased the property. It has received some interest, but nothing serious. 

Knobloch said the village would consider adding incentives for certain businesses. 

“If we have a very attractive business that’s knocking on the door and says ‘OK, we’re not really interested in those incentives that you’re offering, but if you’d give us this incentive (we would be),’ we would entertain whatever comes to the table,” Knobloch said. “We’re trying to get more commercial and business properties in the town. If we find somebody who comes to the table with an attractive offer, we’re going to listen.” 

Heavner said he did not think the village could be too selective in what businesses it provided at least the basic incentives to. 

“At this point, I think we’re not going to discriminate against businesses more than likely,” he said with a laugh. “You’d like to think you’d get a grocery store or something of that nature, but there’s plenty of room for a variety of businesses down in the commercial area.”

Whatever businesses the village does attract, Knobloch said they will benefit the town.

“Anything that we can do to get additional development there will help the community in general, either in terms of the jobs and services that would be provided or in terms of the additional real estate tax revenue that it will provide for the taxing districts within the community that would help to lessen the burden on everybody else,” he said. 

The downtown area’s building lots can be divided to suit developers. If interested, contact the village at 618-935-2131. 

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