Plans are in the works for the farm equipment and supply retailer Rural King Supply to open a store by mid-April in Swansea.
The new store would occupy the vacant 84,000-square-foot building at 2801 N. Illinois St. that previously housed a Value City store.
Village leaders are scheduled to vote Feb. 1 on a redevelopment agreement with the Rural King owned by the Jones family from Olney after a public hearing on whether to create a special business district for the property.
An additional 1% sales tax would be charged at the business if the special business district is created, Mayor Jim Rauckman said.
Revenue from the special tax would be used to refund the owners of the building for repairs and improvements done to the building, Rauckman said.
"The building is in a serious state of disrepair and has suffered significant mine subsidence damage," Rauckman said. "All the walls are cracked due to the mine subsidence."
Subsidence problems had plagued the site since at least 1999, when the former GrandPa's discount store had to close for a month because of 3-inch wide cracks in the walls and floors. When Value City operated in the building, it used support beams to stabilize walls and used barriers to keep customers from damaged areas.
Rauckman estimated the store would generate $50,000 to $80,000 annually in net sales tax revenue.
"It's got the potential to be one of the highest if not the highest sales tax producer in Swansea," Rauckman said.
Ryan Jones, a spokesman for the family, said the company will need "a helping hand" from Swansea to get the building in shape.
"We had been looking at this building for some time and when the opportunity came that we may get the special tax district, we decided it was time to go forward with it," Jones said.
"With the subsidence issues that the building has, it's very beneficial to have it. I don't know if I would call it a deal breaker, but it would make it very hard for anyone to go into it without assistance from the village or the state," Jones said.
Holland Construction has started renovating the facility, and owners hope to bring the building up to code by the middle of April, Jones said.
The store would create about 40 to 50 new jobs, Jones said.
"We've faired pretty well through the tough economy and we hope this one continues like our others have," Jones said.
This will be the sixth Rural King store for the Jones family.
Jones' grandfather, George Jones, acquired the first store in 1964.
Rural King's headquarters is in Mount Carmel and it owns stores in Highland, Olney, Mount Carmel, Robinson and Salem.
Rauckman said he thinks it's "fantastic" that Rural King is coming to town.
"I mean, it's probably the biggest retail thing that has happened to Swansea in 10 or 20 years," Rauckman said. "And also for me, as a new mayor, landing a business ... it's the first one that I've participated in. There's a feeling of accomplishment there as well."
Meanwhile, a Rural King store that will open this year in Collinsville is owned by a Mattoon-based company. That company also owns the Rural King in Waterloo.
Plans are also in the works to open a Tractor Supply Co. on Illinois 15 near South Green Mount Road in Belleville.