The former Village Inn building is getting a new life.
Members of the Hastings Planning Commission voted 7-0-1 during their regular meeting Monday to recommend approval of a plan modification to the redevelopment area that includes the Village Inn property at 3211 W. 12th St.
Commissioner Rakesh Srivastava abstained because he is the founder and CEO of Innovative Prosthetics and Orthotics, which looks to relocate from the Crosier Park Professional Center to the Village Inn property and turn it into office space and manufacturing space renovated for his business.
The agenda item summary states use of tax-increment financing and other incentive programs is an integral part of the development plan and necessary to make the project affordable. The project will result in renovating this building into a combination of clinic, laboratory and light manufacturing space.
Upon completion of renovations, the company will relocate its clinic and other operations to the facility and plans to expand over the course of two years and add about nine jobs, doubling its workforce.
Development of this project is anticipated to be completed between November 2018 and December 2019.
The CRA agreed to purchase the Village Inn property about six years ago for $350,000 from Lincoln-based Concord Hospitality, a franchisee of both Village Inn and Applebee’s in Nebraska and much of the Midwest, with the stipulation Concord Hospitality open an Applebee’s in Hastings.
Hastings’ Applebee’s restaurant at 2303 Osborne Drive closed in June.
The Village Inn property has been empty more than 15 years at this point.
“Normally I wouldn’t come up and discuss one of these items, but this is a property that has been discussed and cussed over the years,” Randy Chick, director of the Community Redevelopment Authority, told Planning Commission members on Monday, referring to plan modifications.
He said the CRA had received a handful of proposals for the building in the six years it has owned the property. The price offered usually was pretty low.
“This recent proposal from Innovative Prosthetics and Orthotics, we believe, is an incredible one,” Chick said. “The entire building would be utilized and renovated for office, lab and clinic space. We have an opportunity to grow the jobs in the community.”
There are several incentives being proposed including low-interest loans and Community Development Block Grant funds.
According to the redevelopment plan modification, the entire project is anticipated to cost more than $1.2 million for site acquisition, engineering and architecture, environmental remediation, renovation and construction, equipment and fixtures, inventory and working capital.
Innovative Prosthetics and Orthotics is contributing owner equity and bank financing of $643,025.
Chick said the project is incredible for the community but a huge investment for the business.
“This is a huge investment on the part of the business and owner and very risky, as well,” Chick said.
TIF funding, CRA financing and CDBG funds from the Department of Economic Development will fill the remaining gap, making this project feasible.
The project is asking for $55,000 in a TIF loan amortized over 15 years. Without the availability of TIF funding for the project, it would not be feasible for the developer to proceed with this redevelopment.
The CRA is keeping a 24,000-square-foot lot to the south, giving the business an option to purchase that at a later date.