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McHenry looks to sell riverfront property

Published: Monday, May 5, 2014 10:11 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:15 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – A piece of riverfront property in downtown McHenry is on the market.

The McHenry City Council hired real estate broker M.J. Munaretto & Co. to sell the two Miller Point lots at 1202 and 1207 N. Riverside Drive with an eye toward redeveloping the site.

The city agreed to buy the property in October 2012 for $550,000 from the Charles J. Miller family trust after it had sat vacant for several years. A 2009 fire destroyed the landmark Dobyn's House and the restaurant it housed. 

The agreement with M.J. Munaretto & Co., which was approved in a 6-1 vote Monday evening, sets the asking price at $850,000.

Besides the purchase price, the city also has put some work into the property, landscaping and removing the wooden broadwalk and piers.

Public boat slips connected to the McHenry Riverwalk are set to be installed this summer. The pier will accommodate 12 boats and have two seating locations.

The council awarded the $53,750 project to McHenry-based Captain Rod's at its meeting Monday.

The project will be funded using borrowed general fund dollars with the goal that the general fund will be reimbursed when the downtown tax increment financing district's fund reaches a positive balance.

The TIF district was established in 2002 to spur development in downtown McHenry.

About $7 million in incentives have contributed to about $17.7 million in private investment, according to council documents. While revenue from district has covered some of those incentives, the TIF fund is in the hole about $400,000.

What happens with Miller Point could make a substantial difference in how quickly that negative fund balance is paid off and how much additional revenue the district could bring in before the TIF status expires in fiscal 2025-26.

In a status update on the TIF district, staff laid out five scenarios based on what development, if any, occurred at Miller Point.

If nothing happened to the property and the district's overall property values sustained modest growth, the fund wouldn't be repaid until the final year of the TIF's life, according to the report.

Construction of a restaurant would have the fund repaid two years sooner while a mixed-use structure with apartments would have it repaid another two years before that. Townhomes would bring in the faster return, putting the fund in the positive in five years and generating another $1.9 million over the life of the TIF.

The Riverfront Foundation has asked the city for funding to complete another extension of the Riverwalk, but City Administrator Derik Morefield said current income from the TIF district couldn't support its request.

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